Small College Sports

Maddie Wilkins, Coe women's basketball ready for return to action with momentum in tow

Kohawks entered final-exam week with buzz of road win over ranked foe

Coe's Maddie Wilkins (21) passes the ball during a game last season against Nebraska Wesleyan at Kohawk Arena in Cedar Rapids. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Coe's Maddie Wilkins (21) passes the ball during a game last season against Nebraska Wesleyan at Kohawk Arena in Cedar Rapids. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — The Coe women’s basketball team is ready to get back on the court.

The Kohawks (5-2) have not played a game since Saturday when it traveled to Whitewater, Wis., and upended Division-III No. 22 UW-Whitewater, 68-63. With final exams this week, the team is anxious to capitalize on its newfound momentum on Monday against Elmhurst at Kohawk Arena.

“I am pretty excited to be back on the floor,” Coe sophomore guard Maddie Wilkins said. “Especially with a great win over a ranked team. That just was awesome and we’re ready to get back at it.”

Wilkins scored the first 11 points for her team and finished with a game-high 25 against UW-Whitewater, an effort that helped garner the Grinnell native a Player of the Week honor from the American Rivers Conference.

Her seven made 3-point baskets were one short of a school record.

“It was my teammates finding me in transition,” said Wilkins, who leads the Kohawks in scoring with 15.6 points per contest. “I wouldn’t have been able to score as much as I did without them and their great passes. They are always looking for me on the court, so I have to give all the credit to them.”

The third win in four games was a bit of a breakthrough for a young Coe squad that has no seniors on the team after graduating two of the top-three scorers in program history last season.

“I think we are finding how to utilize what players we have and all of our strengths,” said sophomore guard Sydney Schroder, a former Iowa City High prep who leads Coe with 36 assists through seven games. “We’re all really fast, so defense is big part of us right now. A lot of transition points for us and I really think when we play good defense, it gets our energy up and whenever we have energy, our shots just start falling. It all just comes together.”

One day after the Elmhurst game, the team will depart for Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to participate in the Cruzin’ Classic, where D-II, D-III and NAIA teams from across the country will compete. The Kohawks will spend five days in Florida and play Arcadia (Pa.) on Dec. 20, then Marietta (Ohio) the following day.

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“It is just a great bonding experience,” second-year Coe Coach Kayla Waskow said. “You get to play some teams out of our area, out of our region, but just get to hang out and spend some time as a group.”

With their roster fully intact and four games left until the A-R-C schedule resumes on Jan. 2 at home against Luther, the Kohawks will attempt to sharpen their skills on both ends of the floor and continue to build chemistry throughout the youthful roster.

“Everyone is just confident in themselves because of that big win,” Schroder said. “I think it will help in the next games, too. Just coming out on the floor with confidence at first. … That game really helps people see how we have improved ourselves.”

l Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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