Leathernecks On A Run

WIU coach attributes success to player chemistry and Just Play software.

Despite just hitting .500 last season, the women’s basketball squad at Western Illinois University (26-6) just finished on top of the Summit League standings this year, capping the season with a thrilling overtime win in the conference tournament against IUPUI last Tuesday.

As the team awaits their tournament seed on Monday, Associate Head Coach Seth Minter reflects on their win late January win over South Dakota, snapping their 24-game home winning streak, as a real turning point for the team.

“That kind of started our run,” he said. “That’s when we kind of felt like this is a team of destiny, and we’re going to finish this storybook ending.”

Individual standouts include Olivia Braun, named to the All-Newcomer Team; Morgan Blumer, Transfer of the Year; and Emily Clemens, Player of the Year and All-League First Team. Despite the individual strengths, however, Minter attributes the team’s success to not only the wide division of leadership but also the unique player chemistry.

“Our team is the most caring group and the most selfless group I’ve ever seen,” he said. “It’s the best locker room I’ve ever been around. They want what’s best for each other. They’re not in it for the personal accolades.”

In addition to high team chemistry and selflessness, Minter attributed a portion of the team’s success to Just Play, an interactive learning and teaching solution that offers players a digital playbook with a video, scouting report and quiz components—all served up on a smartphone or tablet in a learning style that makes sense to today’s students.

He said the coaching staff appreciates how much the scouting reports functionality facilitates their own preparation, along with the ability to draw plays, add video and share quizzes with players.

“It’s reassuring because I don’t really have the doubts anymore of knowing if they’re prepared or not,” he said. “I know they are because I’ve seen the results. The players like the fact that we’re not handing them bulky plays and scouting reports that they throw in their locker or shove in their backpack. For this era and generation – and what we have now with technology at our fingertips – to me it’s just a no-brainer to use Just Play.”

After trying other products and also doing everything manually, he’s pleased the team found a solution that works so well for both the players and the coaches.

“It was easy to get going, and it has kind of become second nature now,” he said. “I don’t think we could ever go back.”

Early predictions have the Leathernecks slotted as the 13 seed in the Bridgeport regional, but you can keep up with Western Illinois and their tournament run @WIUWBB. The 2017 Selection Show airs Monday, March 13, 2017 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. To learn more about Just Play, follow @JustPlaySS or visit our website at www.justplaysolutions.com

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