Despite having a 0-2 weekend, senior guard Martha Burse became the 24th player in the history of the University of Indianapolis women’s basketball program to score 1000 career points. Burse hit the mark in the the game against McKendree University on Feb. 1, where the Greyhounds fell 63-53 despite her 31 point game.
The Hounds also fell to Maryville University over the weekend on Feb. 3. In the middle of the first quarter, the Hounds took the lead and expanded upon it over the next couple of quarters. In the third, the Saints battled back and shortened the lead to 51-52 to end the quarter. After the break, the Saints hit a layup, taking their first lead since the beginning of the game. The Hounds followed with a point of their own, and after battling back and forth the Saints took home the win 70-63.
In Burse’s record breaking game against McKendree, the Hounds and the Bearcats were ranked eighth and ninth, respectively. With the top eight teams going to the GLVC tournament, this was an important game, according to Head Women’s Basketball Coach Kristin Woodrich.
“McKendree is a big game for us,” Woodrich said. “Every night we have to take care of business first because its a point system. So you don’t really know until the end of the season, when everybody’s records come out, where you’re going to be. Someone could win-out or lose-out. So what you get now could be different at the end of the season. So right now we really have to focus on taking care of these games first and it is a close race because we are in eighth and the top eight go. So day in and day out we could be in or out.”
The women split the previous week 1-1 with games against the Bellarmine University Knights on Jan. 25 and the University of Illinois Springfield Prairie Stars on Jan. 27. After the loss to Bellarmine on Jan. 25, the women traveled to Springfield, Ill. to play their first away game in two weeks, taking home the slim victory, 56-53.
The first quarter went back and forth, before closing with a tie at 18. The Hounds pulled ahead in the second after a free throw by senior guard Devin Ferguson pushed the team into the lead. The Hounds built up to a 10 point lead before allowing an 11-1 run by the Prairie Stars near the end of the game. Illinois Springfield was up with only 4:37 left in the game, before the Hounds fought back and took the last three points of the game.
Senior guard Martha Burse led the team with a double-double scoring 26 points and 10 rebounds. Though Burse was the only team member to hit double digit points, freshman guard Taylor Drury and senior guard Tina Negoescu both earned seven points for the Hounds.
Burse was also a leader in the loss to Bellarmine,75-59, with a shooting percentage of .524 and a total of 29 points. The Knights led the whole game, despite the Hounds closing in on them in the middle of the fourth quarter after a 7-0 run making it a one point game. The Knights answered back to end the game with a 15-0 run to take the game.
According to Head Women’s Basketball Coach Kristin Woodrich, Burse has been an important asset to the team with her effort on and off the court, and taking on a big role on the team. She leads the country in steals and is fifth in scoring to contribute to the team’s eighth seed in the conference.
“Martha’s really improved from last year to this year. And you see it because she’s in the gym every day. She’s in the weight room extra, she watches extra film, she wants to be good. So just to see her improve is pretty awesome,” Woodrich said. “But at the same time we ask her to do a lot and we put a lot on her shoulders… You know, she has the ball in her hands a lot but she’s also off the ball as well. So she’s really taken on that role and she’s taken pride in it. So I think she’s done a really good job this year. And she’s also our teams leading rebounder at the moment. To be able to do all of that, she’s a good kid, she stays focused on the right things, and she’s been really fun to watch this year.”
According to Burse, her biggest goal is to come out of her comfort zone and make big plays rather than always sticking to what she knows. She said as the team advance in the season they have to focus on being more mentally tough through all of the trials that they face during this time.
“We focused on putting in relentless effort even if you are hurt, or tired. Everybody’s doing the same thing and we’ve got school,” Burse said. “But the fact that at the end of the day, just knowing that you’ve got to do it [work hard] for the person standing next to you. It’s just changed our mindset to focus on us [the team] rather than yourself.”
The GLVC is a tough conference every year, and every game can go either way in terms of winning, according to Woodrich. She said that seeing such difficult teams in the beginning of the season is beneficial and conditions the Hounds to play at a higher level.
“It [early season] was tough, that’s for sure. And with a bunch of injuries we had too it was hard, but I think it was helpful. You get to see where the top teams in the country are and where we need to go. And if you want to be the best you have to play the best,” Woodrich said. “It helps us to see where we’re at, it helps to see what we need to work on. We’ve been focusing on a lot of those things and I really think it has helped us in conference play.”
According to Burse, the women have been focusing on fundamentals like shooting and rebounding, which are some of the areas they are lacking on. Making the most of the opportunities that they recieve on the court is also something Burse and the team are working on in hopes to get in extra shots and put more points on the board.
After the weeks games, the Hounds fell from eighth in conference to 11th. Despite the drop, Woodrich is focused on each single game, and not worrying too much about standings. She said it is important to take each game seriously and play as hard as you can each day.
“I think the biggest thing with the team is that you focus one game at a time. If you look too far ahead you lose focus on what’s in front of you,” Woodrich said. “This is the thick of the season, and everybody’s hurt, everybody’s sore, and everybody’s in the same boat. So the teams that are mentally tough and are ready to go into the thick of the season I think are the teams that come out victorious.”