LAWRENCE, KANSAS — The Haskell Indian Nations University women’s basketball team (11-3) will open Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference (MCAC) play on Friday, January 16th, against the 20th ranked College of the Ozarks (9-5) at Coffin Sports Complex at 5:30 p.m. – CST.
The Haskell women are off to the second best start in NAIA program history after amassing 11 wins and only 3 losses, only the 2009-2010 Haskell women’s team coached by the late Phil Homeratha finished better in the non-conference season (12-3) and they earned a bid to the NAIA National tournament that season.
Leading the way for the Indians this season so far is senior Jenine Coriz (Cochiti Pueblo), the 5-3 guard is currently averaging 15.4 points per game and averages 3.7 steals per game which ranks 5th in the nation in the NAIA Division II. Head Coach Shane Flanagan said, “What I want to do is get the ball in her hands late and I’ll think we’ll be successful doing that because I really trust and believe what she does. I am really excited and happy with where she is at but I want more out of her.”
During that stretch of 11 wins, the Haskell ladies competed against some of the best teams in the country and pulled out some good road wins against NAIA Division I opponents and ranked teams (Haskell competes at the NAIA DII level). Coach Flanagan said, “I was happy with the way we played pre-conference, coming into the season I was confident with the girls we had back and I think we played extremely well and we beat some ranked teams.”
In the first three polls of the season, Haskell didn’t crack the Top 25 but they did however manage to receive votes for the poll which marked the first time in school history that a Haskell team had made the poll at the beginning of the season. Haskell’s conference, the MCAC, currently has three teams ranked in the top 25 teams with College of Saint Mary (Neb) ranked #8, Oklahoma Wesleyan ranked #16 and College of the Ozarks ranked #20. Only the CCAC conference has more ranked teams in the poll with four.
“All three of those teams are very good and they have all played tough schedules and they all have been successful. It’s a tough conference, I think its top heavy but I think we fit right in there and I am excited about that challenge. It’s always fun to play ranked teams and to have them in your conference that makes it more of motivations for when these teams come in.” said Flanagan.
The first of two contest between the Lady Indians and College of the Ozarks will take place on Haskell’s home court this Friday, the Indians will then have another conference home game on Saturday, January 16th against Central Baptist College, that game is set for 3:00 p.m. – CST
You watch all the action online the rest of the season by visiting the Haskell athletic website (www.haskellathletics.com) and by following Haskell’s social media accounts which can also be found on the athletics website.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in NDNSports.com. Used with permission. All rights reserved.