College Sports

SWIC women eager to get back on winning track

After consecutive losing seasons, Southwestern Illinois College women’s basketball coach Mike Juenger went back to the basics as he prepared the Blue Storm for the start of the 2016-17 season.

One of Juenger’s primary objectives was teaching the Blue Storm how to win after they suffered 39 losses in 50 games across the previous two seasons. Now two months into the season, SWIC is 5-7 and sits in fifth place in the Great Rivers Conference.

“You know me. I don’t like losing. But I see signs that we are improving,” Juenger said. “One of the things we don’t have this year is someone who can take control of a game. But we’re getting better. It’s a slow process at times.”

The Blue Storm, coming off back-to-back losses to Lewis and Clark College and Lake Land College, will try to get back on track Wednesday when they travel to Centralia to take on Kaskaskia College and Saturday when they play host to John A. Logan College.

SWIC plays 10 of its next 12 games on the road.

“I’m the one who did the schedule. Blame me,” Juenger said. “We’ve got a tough stretch of games coming up here in the next few weeks. We just want to keep improving and hopefully be playing our best at tournament time here in a few weeks.”

SWIC’s offense has struggled to score in the two games after its 51-50 win over Shawnee College. The Blue Storm averaged just 45 points in the losses to Lewis and Clark and Lake Land, including one quarter against Lake Land when they scored just four points.

“You aren’t going to beat anybody scoring four points in a quarter,” Juenger said. “We just have spurts where we can’t score. Somehow we need to gain more consistency on both ends of the court,” Juenger said.

Sophomore Madisyn Sheraka and freshman Zaria Valle currently lead the Blue Storm in scoring at 10 points per game.

SWIC hosts John A. Logan College at 1 p.m. Saturday. The men’s game follows at 3 p.m.