Courageous season comes to a close

The Wheaton Thunder women’s basketball team displayed an abundance of positive attributes during their 2015-2016 campaign. Consistently, the Thunder experienced numerous instances of on-court success and played phenomenal basketball for the majority of this year.

Day after day, the ladies worked hard to win the conference title and make the NCAA tournament. However, the team finished their season in the first round of the Division III Women’s Basketball Tournament with an 81-56 loss to UW-River Falls (23-5). Junior guard Katie McDaniels led Wheaton with 17 points and two steals. Sophomore guard Kelly Lawson scored 11 points, and junior guard added 8 points with two assists.

Head coach Kent Madsen had high praise for his team after his season concluded.

“When I look over the entirety of our season, I am extremely proud of our team,” he said. “We had players that were injured along the way and we constantly had to mix up our lineup, and people just kept doing their jobs to get us to the point where we make the NCAA Tournament.”

The Thunder played exceptionally this season, posting a 22-6 record, which tied the third-highest single-season win total in program history. This season also marked the third 20-win season in the last four years and the 11th 20-win season in program history.

“We faced a lot of adversity. We always had at least one person hurt and everyone had to step up when someone went down,” explained freshman forward Devin Kyler. “We had games that didn’t turn out how we wanted, but we always turned the page and strived to be better. It was really exciting getting to play and I’m excited for more seasons.”

Madsen also commented on the performance of his four senior players.

“I am extremely proud of our seniors this year. I believe that they are the first group of Wheaton seniors that has been to three NCAA Tournaments,” he explained. “That speaks to what they have brought to this team over the years. I just want to tell our seniors how much I appreciate each and every one of them.”

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