|Brooke Trewyn is part of Whitewater's stingy defense and she leads the WIAC in scoring with 15.8 points per game.
Photo by Michael McLoone, UW-Whitewater athletics
Following a big win over UW Oshkosh last week, No. 17 UW-Whitewater moved into first place in the WIAC standings with a 6-0 conference record.
The Warhawks have dropped just one game this season with a 16-1 overall record despite several injuries to key players.
“Our conference has seen a lot of injuries throughout the entire league, so it’s been an interesting year for our conference this season,” Whitewater head coach Keri Carollo said.
Whitewater has dealt with its fair share of injuries this season. In the preseason, the Warhawks lost Division I UW-Milwaukee sophomore transfer Taylor Baker as well as senior Andrea Olsen, who appeared in all 28 games last season.
Junior starter Andrea Meinert played just eight minutes against UW-Eau Claire on January 7 and has yet to return to the rotation.
“Obviously it hurt us when Andrea went down, but we’ve had some underclassmen step up and play some big minutes,” Whitewater junior guard Brooke Trewyn said. “They’re doing a nice job, and we all have been playing well together, which is all that matters.”
In addition to the injuries, Whitewater had to replace five seniors from last year’s team.
Carollo said the biggest reason Whitewater has been able to climb atop the conference despite injuries and graduation is on the defensive side of the floor.
“It’s our defense,” Carollo said. “We’ve really learned how to play together and be unselfish on defense and limit opposing teams. We’re really selling our defensive philosophy, and they’ve responded.”
In conference play, the Warhawks are allowing 56.3 points per game, which ranks second in the WIAC behind Oshkosh, which allows 56.2 points per conference game. True to form, Whitewater beat Oshkosh 55-50 last Wednesday night.
“I think I’m a little more confident in all aspects of my game, but especially defensively,” Trewyn said. “I’m not the strongest defender, but working on that in the offseason gained so much confidence for myself.”
In addition to improving defensively, Trewyn has emerged as the conference’s leading scorer with 17 points per WIAC game, nearly tripling last year’s average in conference.
“I’m not surprised,” Carollo said. “I know Brooke has the ability to score in a lot of different ways, and she really had a great offseason. We talked to her a lot about what she needed to do to add to her game. She’s a great teammate that has the ability to help carry our team when we need her to, and she also allows her teammates to step up when they need to. She understands the balance and understands when she needs to step up in those big moments.”
Trewyn said she has taken on more of a leadership role as a junior.
“Being an upperclassman now, it kind of puts you in that role of being a leader, and I think the other juniors and seniors worked on that as well,” Trewyn said. “We’re more of leaders this year than we were last year, which has helped.”
Trewyn said the biggest reason for the eight-game winning streak has been the chemistry of the team.
“I think we’re all just playing really well together right now,” Trewyn said. “We’re playing great team defense. We all get along really well, so that definitely carries over onto the court.”
Offseason training has been another important aspect for Whitewater.
“I did a lot of that in the offseason after talking with my coaches,” Trewyn said. “I think we’re off to a pretty good start right now, and everyone did a really good job in the offseason working on what they needed to work on to come back better than we were last year.”
The Warhawks lost in the second round of the tournament to Washington U. last season, but playing in the WIAC helps teams get ready for postseason play, according to Carollo.
“Especially now with eight teams in our conference, every game is extremely important, and you can’t have an off night,” Carollo said. “You have to be ready to go every single night. What’s been so great about our conference over the years is that it prepares teams that advance into the postseason from our conference because of the intensity that is played every single night.”
With no new entrants, Central region teams take up eight spots in the latest men’s top 25 poll.
In the WIAC, UW-River Falls remains at No. 5, while UW-Eau Claire fell from No. 12 to No. 17. UW-Whitewater moved up one spot to No. 24.
North Park dropped significantly from ninth to 23rd, representing the CCIW, and Augustana moved up from No. 20 to No. 16.
In the UAA, Washington U. moved up three spots from No. 11 to No. 8, and St. Norbert slipped from seventh to 13th, representing the MWC. The NACC’s Benedictine stays at No. 19.
On the women’s side, the Central region gained a member in the top 25, as four teams cracked the top 25 this week.
UW-Whitewater beat UW Oshkosh in a WIAC matchup to move from No. 20 to No. 17, while the Titans dropped five spots to 15th.
From the UAA, Washington U. moved up one spot to No. 11, and Wheaton (Ill.) of the CCIW moved back into the rankings at No. 25.
Check these out
As we head into the end of January, here are a few of the biggest games in the Central region to keep an eye on over the next week.
#5 UW-River Falls @ UW-Stevens Point (MBB) – Saturday, Jan. 28 – UW-River Falls has been one of the most consistent teams in the country with 14 consecutive wins, but the Falcons will be on the road against UW-Stevens Point, who lost by just one point in River Falls on Jan. 14.
#13 St. Norbert @ Lawrence (MBB) – Wednesday, Jan. 25 – The first game between these two was not much of a matchup, as St. Norbert beat Lawrence by 31 to start the Vikings’ four-game skid. Since then, Lawrence has looked much better, winning five of its last six games.
#11 Washington U. @ #9 Carnegie Mellon (WBB) – Friday, Jan. 27 – This should be one of the better games in the country this week, as Washington U. comes in with a 14-2 record, while Carnegie Mellon is 15-1. Two of these teams’ next three games will be against one another.
#25 Wheaton (Ill.) @ North Central (Ill.) (WBB) – Saturday, Jan. 28 – If you like high scoring, this one is for you. North Central (Ill.) tops the country with 91.4 points per game, but when these two teams played on Dec. 7, Wheaton (Ill.) came away with a 90-85 home victory.
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