If you did not get a chance to watch the Winona State University’s women’s basketball team this year, what were you doing with your life?
Lucky for you, the entire roster is back next season, and they are poised for another run at the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) tournament.
One of the players helping this team get to the top is first-year Caitlin Riley, who has one of the best jump shots in the NSIC.
Although she has the confidence in her stroke, she did have some nerves coming in.
“Being a freshman, I didn’t know what to expect, everything was new and different,” Riley said. “My biggest nerves came from being away from home and spending time with people I hadn’t met yet, but my teammates and coaches were extremely welcoming and made the transition from high school to college very smooth.”
Riley seemed to get into the flow of the game early on, but there was some getting used to needed when moving up to division-II.
“My biggest adjustment from high school to college basketball would have to be the attention to detail,” Riley said. “My coaches and teammates taught me so many new things that I had never put much thought into.”
Heeding the advice of her team, Riley and the rest of the Warriors battled their way to earn a spot in the NSIC Tournament.
Things did not go quite as planned after an early loss in the tournament but Riley is grateful for the experience and is confident the team can make a deeper run next year.
“The pentagon is a very fun atmosphere to get to experience,” Riley said. “As a team, we had bigger goals of making it farther into the tournament, but I feel like we can definitely build on the experience and honestly win the conference tournament next season.”
Riley says she values confidence, especially in the game.
“No one can take your confidence, only you can,” Riley said. “When you have confidence, you can do whatever you set your mind to.”
Coined the “Splashed Sisters” by campus radio station 89.5 KQAL, reporters had to know who Riley thought would win in a shoot-out: her or junior Allie Pickrain?
“I mean, I have to say me, right?” Riley said. “Allie’s a phenomenal shooter, but I’ve got more records of hers to break before I can say it’s an outright win.”
The season is over, and everyone is socially distancing, but Riley is still finding ways to prepare for next season.
“During this quarantine I have started running outside and finding new ways to workout inside my house,” Riley said. “It’s just about all I can do right now to help my game.”
Riley and the rest of the Warriors are doing what they can to prepare for next season, and they hope to see you there.
The opinions expressed in this paper are not necessarily those of Winona State University, the Minnesota State Colleges and University system, or the Winona State University student body.