Good health has been hard to come by for the ORU women’s basketball team in recent weeks and the injuries are forcing the team’s younger players to step up.
The Golden Eagles have been snake bitten by injuries since the season started and have already lost two players for the season. Senior forward Dorottya Balla and Jordan Doyle will miss the rest of the season with knee injuries. Balla played in only one game for the Golden Eagles. Doyle didn’t see any game action this season. Both will use medical redshirt.
“At one point last year, we played six weeks of the season with seven people healthy. So we’ve kinda been here before,” said Women’s Head Basketball Coach Misti Cussen. “It didn’t impact our big stat getters last year as much as it has this year. In the past it’s been more of the role players, who had been injured.”
While every team gets banged up during the season, the injuries are coming at an inopportune time for Cussen’s team who are fighting to stay afloat in conference play before the Summit League Tournament which begins in March. The Golden Eagles are currently 12-11 with a 4-6 record in Summit League play, and have dropped five of the last seven games in conference.
The team’s younger players have been thrown into the fire out of necessity and have been logging serious minutes the last month. During the team’s home game vs. Denver on Jan. 25, the Golden Eagles had a lineup with four freshmen who hadn’t played in the same lineup all season. Junior forward Faith Ihim is pleased with the job the younger players have done during the team’s rough stretch and will be urging them to stay relaxed even during crunch time.
“Just play ball. Play ball like you’ve played your entire life. Don’t worry about making a mistake,” said Ihim, who has had to anchor a lineup that has changed very often this season. “If you make a mistake, don’t worry about it. I make mistakes, Jordy [Gilbert] makes mistakes. Just get the next one and do what you do.”
Sophomore forward Maria Martianez and redshirt sophomore Jordy Gilbert both sustained injuries against Denver on Jan. 25 and while Martianez didn’t miss a game, Gilbert and redshirt junior Lakota Beatty remain sidelined.
We’re putting lineups together that don’t have a lot of game experience, but I can say that I’m happy to go to battle with this team at any time with anybody,” said Cussen.
The Golden Eagles host IUPUI tomorrow at the Mabee Center. The game will tip-off at 12:30 p.m.