By: Kaylee Darnell
The IU South Bend women’s basketball team began their season in Nov. 2022, and have continued into the new year leading the conference with 11 wins and one loss, and 16 wins overall (as of Jan. 17).
“It’s a great feeling, but we’re not content,” Katie Gard, a senior player, said. “One thing that has set us apart from other teams is our drive and desire. After our season ended short because of Covid, and having heartbreaking losses last season, we definitely have a chip on our shoulder.”
“Being 16-1 currently gives us a huge target on our backs. This just means we have to play IUSB basketball to ‘keep the train rolling,’ as Coach Bruce would say. At the end of the day it’s us vs us and our mentality will keep us going,” senior Rachael Robards said.
Senior Maddie Gard agrees.
“I think our mindset has really benefited us to be where we are through the season. We always just emphasize to keep the machine rolling, because we’re not done accomplishing what we want to. We’ve pushed because we know we’re already having a historical year so far, and we want to continue that.”
“After last year’s 25-8 season, with many key players returning, we were optimistic that with hard work, humility and selflessness, we could be in a position to have a great year in 2022-23,” Head Coach Steve Bruce said.
Throughout the season, four members of the team, Katie Gard, Maddie Gard, Rachael Robards, and Tia Chambers have surpassed 1,000 points. Katie Gard also reached a career high of 26 points, and the team broke the previous record for single season consecutive wins.
“I honestly didn’t even know what my career high was previously, or that I even scored that much until someone told me after the game. I’m more proud of the girls than anything – I know it’s a cliche thing to say, but I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them. They truly raise me up without even trying,” Katie Gard said.
Surpassing 1,000 points in a career is not the easiest thing to do, so to have multiple players achieve it in the same season shows the hard work and dedication the girls put in – day in and day out, on and off the court.
“The 1,000 point milestone is commonly regarded as a great individual achievement. Of course, it could never happen without great teammates. It is very rare that a team would have three,” Coach Bruce said.
He added that the team actually has four players with 1,000-point careers, as Tia Chambers, who transferred from IU Kokomo to play her fifth and final year here, scored over 1,200 points during her four year career there.
Katie Gard said she is proud to have accomplished this milestone alongside her teammates.
“It was one of the best moments being able to do it in the same game as Rach – we always joked about getting it in the same game, and then it just felt like it was supposed to happen. Maddie and I were not 1,000-point scorers in high school, so to be able to get it in college feels like one of my biggest accomplishments. I think Maddie could say the same,” she said.
The team is more than halfway through their season, and even though they are currently on top with their conference record, they have no plan of stopping. Between practicing five to six days a week and having multiple games throughout the week, the work never ends. They are preparing to bring a banner into the Student Activities Center and break more records.
“We are always trying to focus on being our best in the present moment…one possession at a time. Win the possession, then move to the next. ‘Jumping ahead to what might be’ is an unhealthy trap that we don’t want to fall into,” Coach Bruce said.
“The goals we’ve set at the beginning of the year are our motivation to keep us grinding. We want to go to the national tournament and make some noise,” Maddie Gard said.
As head women’s basketball coach and the Executive Director of Athletics, Coach Bruce believes that with teamwork and dedication, nothing is impossible.
“I would encourage all of our athletes to always keep gratitude front and center,” he said. “For most, college athletics will be the last great team experience that they have. Time moves by quickly, and there is ‘no rewind on earth.’ Work hard, have no regrets, and be a great teammate!”
For any information regarding women’s basketball or athletics at IU South Bend, visit IUSBTitans.com for season schedules and more.