Women’s Basketball & Lacrosse thrive in Relative Anonymity

Photo: DU Women’s Lacrosse defeated San Diego State University 17-12 on a chilly Friday afternoon game at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium.

One team’s season is winding down and the other team’s season has just begun.

DU Women’s basketball is 16-13 (7-7 Summit League) and having a solid season following 8-23, 5-25 and 6-24 seasons under former head coach Kerry Cremeans who posted a 24-112 overall record in her five seasons at DU. Head Coach Jim Turgeon has guided the team above .500 in just one season. According to one parent, Coach Turgeon employs a system that involves all the players instead of funneling the ball to the same one or two stars.  The result is an impressive winning season in Turgeon’s first season.

Jordyn Alt, Ciera Morgan and Sydney Kohl are the only seniors. Clair Gritt leads the Pioneers with 10.6 points per game (ppg) followed by Briana Johnson (8.8 ppg) and Samantha Romanowski (7.8 ppg). The Pioneers are scoring 70.9 points per game and the approach is ‘scoring by committee’. The team gets it done with 100 more rebounds than their opponents for the season along with an edge in steals and blocks.

The Pioneers dropped a 77-61 decision to Western Illinois Saturday to close out the Summit League regular season. But Sturgeon is looking at the long-term. Said Turgeon to Denver Magazine at the beginning of the season – “We must improve day by day, week by week, month by month. And then season by season – that’s how you build a program. Maybe three years, four years down the line, we have a women’s basketball program we can be proud of.” DU Women’s basketball just might be ahead of Turgeon’s timeline.

Basketball Women WIL
Women’s basketball fell to Western Illinois Saturday afternoon in front of a sparse Senior Day crowd

They travel to Sioux Falls March 3rd-6th for the Summit League championships.

DU Women’s Lacrosse (3-0) has started the season with a victory over long-time rival Stanford (12-9). Then, the Pioneers traveled to Louisville and won their first road game of the season and defeated San Diego State University 17-10 yesterday. The three straight wins hint at another strong season by DU women’s lacrosse. Head Coach Liza Kelly and her staff have leveraged the move from the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) to the Big East conference by recruiting some excellent talent to the University of Denver Program. Inside lacrosse has DU ranked 25th in their most recent poll.

The Pioneers are returning offensive firepower with six of last seasons top seven scorers (Kendra Lanuza, Julia Feiss, Elizabeth Behrins, Audrey Schreck, Caitlin Derry and Katherine Fischer). These six players scored 256 of DU’s 332 points last season – so expect goal scoring in bunches from DU. Goalie Maddie Stevenson graduated and sophomore Carson Gregg is now picking up starts in goal.

The team travels to (#2 Inside Lacrosse) Stony Brook, New York for a game this Sunday and returns to Peter Barton for matches against Virginia Tech and Temple March 18th and 24th respectively. The Stony Brook road game will be a great test to see where Denver stands nationally.

14 thoughts on “Women’s Basketball & Lacrosse thrive in Relative Anonymity”

  1. OK, we got crunched by Stony Brook. Not end of the world. SB is ranked #1 this week. No team could play their best with a Friday game in Denver and then Sunday in Long Island, NY. Florida is a great team and visits us in a few months. Maybe we upset them? Anyway the rest of the schedule is manageable. We are a possible NCAA at-large team.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I must say I am very impressed with Jim Turgeon and what he’s done with DU women’s hoops, turning that program from a bad embarrassment under Kerry Cremeans’ tenure into a 16-win, winning season in the very first year. It’s incredible. And the good news doesn’t stop there – DU had the #102 rated recruiting class in the country for next season according to AGSR, out of 349 women’s teams, and the top class in the Summit League, a league with some great women’s basketball programs in South Dakota. If this is what they can do with other people’s recruits, I really look forward to what they can do with their own recruits…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree -Turgeon has done a great job. I agree with many who say women’s hoops is sometimes tough to watch. 32 TO’s against Western Illinois. Clean that up and a much better product to watch.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have had the pleasure to see 28 of the the DU woman’s basketball games this year. Watching the game on the road against Western was one of the most exciting games I have ever seen. It was remarkable to watch each team drill 18 three pointers and set an all time NCAA record. The development of the players this year is evident and tremendous. I look forward to the days more people come out to support them as I have little doubt they are building something special. Thank you for this article.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ll revise the comment before this one:

      Yeah, I keep scratching my head why nobody “but relatives of the players” wants to go watch turnover’s, lay-ups and 39% shooting. Spare me the 18 made three pointers when you throw up 42 of them.

      I think it’s great the team finished above .500, but you’re not filling that place up any time soon unless you’re serving hot ham sandwiches and soup and bussing in homeless people to fill the stands. And as soon as Denver gets good again, a big school will snap up the head coach and DU is back hiring assistants at D1 programs or good in-state D2 coaches.

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      1. FYI the NBA average for 3 pt% this year is 36%. They hit 42.8% that day so good job making no point at all. Good stuff!

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  4. I go to a fair amount of women’s sports. While they may not be as athletic as the men, I appreciate the effort. In most cases, there is no professional future so they are playing for the fun of it or a scholarship. I also see how hard these kids work – in most cases just as hard as the men. I think there is a market for good women’s basketball but it will never be the ‘next big thing’ at DU. But, the women are not playing for fame and glory – and that is not a bad thing. And in most cases they are performing above their peers in the classroom so they are an asset to the campus/community.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The best shot DU has at turning women’s hoops into a spectator sport is doing what DU gymnastics did – stay in Hamilton gym and market themselves to little girl gymnasts ages 6-12 and their families (with basketball marketing to young girls basketball families).

    Liked by 2 people

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