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Well Rounded Dons Begin Season

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Written by: Communicator StaffDecember 14, 2017

By: Emily Anderson

The 2018 season for the Fort Wayne Mastodon women’s basketball team began Nov. 10. The team, which includes eight freshmen, currently has two wins and six losses. The Mastodons have also been focusing on community involvement in order to build well-rounded players.

“This team has really embraced our community service efforts. With all the social injustices going on, we really focus not on being part of the problem but part of the solution by taking an active role with the youth in the community,” said Niecee Nelson, head coach of the Fort Wayne Mastodon women’s basketball team.

The team started a reading program in the Fort Wayne Community Schools, which led to over 800 elementary students attending their home game against University of Illinois at Chicago on Nov. 21. The Mastodons lost 67-51 to UIC, but in the process Jaelencia Williams led the team with 13 points and finished with six rebounds.

At the home game against Quincy on Nov. 25, the Mastodons were losing by five points with less than one minute left in the game. Returning point guard Anna Lappenküper, a sophomore from Germany, scored the winning points as the buzzer went off, rendering the score 73-72. Everyone in the stands jumped to their feet to celebrate.

Lappenküper said, “I think I have to take more of a leadership role right now as a sophomore because there are so many freshmen this year. It’s been kind of rough, but I think we are getting there. We are getting better every game.”

Lappenküper scored 19 points set a personal record when the Fort Wayne Mastodons played Xavier on Nov. 29. Hannah Hess, a freshman from Ohio, also achieved a career record with 10 points. The Mastodons lost 62-50.

Although the team has suffered some losses so far, hopes are high for the coming games.

“What we focus on is getting a little bit better every day and getting a little bit better every game,” Nelson said.

Overall, Nelson said she was proud of how the team is doing with such a new team and so much demand being put on young players. The team focuses on their motto, “Kaizen,” meaning continuous improvement, a term from a book the team read titled “Chop Wood Carry Water.” The motto inspires the players to trust the process and stay in the present.