Truman State University’s women’s basketball team rebounded after their Jan. 3 loss to Lewis University with a three-game win streak, all while playing exclusively on the road. The Bulldogs posted a 73-51 win over the University of Indianapolis, an 83-72 win against the University of Southern Indiana and a 65-49 win over Bellarmine University throughout break. In addition, head coach Amy Eagan celebrated her 102nd win with the Bulldogs, becoming the winningest coach in the history of Truman’s women’s basketball program.
Eagan credited her coaching success to the various student athletes and Truman faculty who worked alongside her over the years, and stressed the importance of keeping good company regardless of the situation. She said the various connections between her and her athletes push the team to perform better and achieve success as a whole.
“We break to ‘family’ every day, and we all define what that means because everyone’s definition is different,” Eagan said. “Our kids spend a lot of time together both on and also off the floor, and they make time for each other because they know it’s important. Heck, it’s not uncommon for a senior to be hanging out with a freshman in our program, and I think that’s pretty cool!”
Eagan said the team’s two losses against Lindenwood University and Lewis University earlier in the year have been great learning experiences for the Bulldogs.
“Lindenwood and Lewis are both having outstanding years, and I think we learned a lot from both,” Eagan said. “We are building this program for top of the league, and playing both those teams can show us what it takes. Lindenwood won the MIAA last year, and Lewis has been top of our league for years. I think our kids know we can play with the both of them, and I think we are working more on the mental game more than anything to get to that level.”
Senior guard Rachel Steinhoff said the attitude each of the student athletes has this season has been different than what she has seen in her previous four years on the team, and she credited Eagan’s coaching style as a factor in the team’s success. Steinhoff said the team has had a level of cooperation and a drive to win that’s pushed the team to excel.
Steinhoff said regardless of who is given time on the court or who scores the points, the team is unified in an effort to take the W.
“Every team I’ve played on has loved each other, wants to win, all of that, but this year I think we have something very unique where no one cares who gets time, who gets points and who gets rebounds,” Steinhoff said. “It’s all just for the win, and I’ve never been on a team where people are cheering so hard for people who are put on the court and taking their own minutes. There’s no bitterness, and no one’s sulking about not getting to play. I think everyone’s just fully bought in to winning.”
Steinhoff said the personalities of the various Bulldog team members have factored into this spirit of team cohesion. She said the team itself is a tight-knit group of athletes who push each other to succeed, whether it’s by setting challenges for the other athletes, hyping them up to play their hardest or setting an example through teaching. She said despite the Bulldogs’ strong record and second-place position in the GLVC, the team has formed a no-pressure environment to just go out and play good basketball.
“We care about each other a lot, and I think it shows,” Steinhoff said. “In the past, like when we got beat by Lindenwood, we could’ve gotten really tense and started thinking about ourselves, but instead we’ve taken on the attitude that we should play for each other. There’s no pressure, even though we’re doing so well. We just walk up and say, ‘Let’s have fun out there.’”
The Bulldogs return to Kirksville tonight at 5:30 p.m. to square up against the University of Missouri-St. Louis and will continue their home stand for four games until their game at Missouri University of Science and Technology on Jan. 31.