When the Westcliff women’s basketball schedule was released last fall, it was no surprise that the Warriors would have a grueling season ahead of them. Westcliff would face some of the best NAIA teams in college basketball for their inaugural season, as well as play two NCAA Division 1 programs, one Division 2 program and two Division 3 programs.
“A tough schedule teaches us what the level of competition needs to be in order to one day become one of the best teams in the nation,” head coach Patty Medina said. “I could have lightened the schedule and gotten wins early in the season but I wanted to make sure that this inaugural season would build character, weed out weaklings and set the tone for the culture that we want to establish for our program.”
Currently, the Warriors are 2-17 for the season, after beating the University of St. Katherine twice. However, of all the NAIA teams that they have already played, all but two are above .500 and five of them are currently ranked in the NAIA Top 25 standings.
The Warriors played California State University Bakersfield in November for their first Division 1 exhibition game match up and lost 91-37. The game was broadcasted on ESPN3, a first time experience for coaches and players, and the Warriors finished with two players in double digits. The size of the Roadrunners was obviously overpowering. They had five players taller than six feet and the tallest player for the Warriors is sophomore, Jaquel Quest, at 6’1”. Regardless of the score, the Warriors competed and showed resilience.
Yesterday, the Westcliff Warriors played another exhibition against Division 1 new member, California Baptist University, and had their worst loss of the season, 133-43. The Warriors, who are now down to seven players, had the opportunity to play in the new CBU Events Center and compete against another Western Athletic Conference team. This time around, however, the score would be far worse than against CSU Bakersfield. The Lancers came out in full speed! Pressing and scoring quickly off the Warriors’ turnovers. CBU hit a total of 20 three pointers and forced the Warriors to a season high 35 turnovers.
“I think this loss really put into perspective what we have to do as a program.” Coach Patty Medina said, “The speed of the game was faster, the court was longer and the arena was louder. It really took the ladies out of their comfort zone. Some showed mental fortitude while others shut down. Situations like this can either motivate or discourage athletes. I think it did the former, so it definitely served its purpose!”
Coach Patty Medina says that she plans on scheduling games against NCAA Division 1 programs for as long as the opportunities present themselves. For this season, however, those were the only two match ups. Nonetheless, the Warriors’ schedule does not ease up. Tuesday they play NCAA Division 2 Biola University (8-8) and then Saturday they play against the NAIA powerhouse, #9 Vanguard University (13-5) once again.