By ANDY WOLF
Seniors Lynsey Englebrecht and Haley Horstman sat on either side of their head coach Jim Wiedie at the press conference following the University of Findlay women’s basketball team’s loss to Drury in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Wiedie opened with how hard his team played.
He didn’t take too long to get to complimenting the two seniors who had just played their last game for him.
“These two have done a tremendous job leading,” Wiedie said. “It hasn’t been the most successful four years for them.”
In the three years prior, the Oilers were only 43-39.
They had no postseason appearances to hang their hat on.
“First three years, kind of average,” Wiedie said. “But to have it all come together their senior year, to make the conference tournament, to make the (GMAC) championship game, and have the opportunity to play in the NCAA — I’m just very happy.
“I’m very proud of these two and everything they’ve done for me and this program.”
Horstman finishes her career 13th on UF’s all-time career scoring list (1,185).
After not averaging more than 12 points her first three years, she stepped up her game to score a career-best 14.2 ppg her senior season.
She also tallied 368 rebounds, 260 assists and 128 steals.
Horstman and Englebrecht shared the same sentiments of their first three seasons.
“First three years a little rough but I’m glad we finished the way we did,” Horstman said.
“The first three years, I look at them as growth years, especially myself,” Englebrecht said.
Englebrecht didn’t see as much playing time as Horstman right away.
Horstman only came off the bench once — her UF debut — and soon etched herself into UF’s starting lineup.
But her ability to score was apparent as she went for 12 points in her first collegiate game. While she only had four more double-digit scoring games that year, she established her offensive arsenal of drives and her patented pull-up mid-range jumper to average 6.0 points per game.
She ended up making 111 starts.
Meanwhile, Englebrecht career trajectory was on a steady incline.
And it kept going up .
After playing only 7.7 minutes per game as a true freshman, Englebrecht worked herself into the rotation more her sophomore and junior years — making seven total starts.
She thrived in her small-volume shooting role with 105 makes those two seasons.
Englebrecht put together a senior season greater than her sophomore and junior years.
“Each year for me got better,” Englebrecht said. “The team chemistry was never an issue.”
She not only shattered the UF single-season 3-point record (106), but became the first woman and second player in school history to tally over 100 triples.
Englebrecht equally did it with precision by finishing 10th in the country in percentage (43.6) prior to the NCAA tournament.
“This year trumps all,” she said. “It makes the whole experience amazing. I couldn’t ask for a better coaching staff. Everything was perfect.”
Her 222 3-pointers ranks second all-time at UF, behind last year’s senior Karli Bonar (260).
“Getting to play with your best friends is something you can’t even explain,” Englebrecht said. “I’m just really proud of my teammates and just really grateful that I’ve had this opportunity and can’t thank coach Wiedie enough for giving this to me.”
Horstman and Englebrecht comprise half of UF’s four seniors — the other two being guards Kendyl Hinton and Emily Molnar.
Hinton started 20 games in her career while Molnar made five starts.
Nine returning juniors will more than help make up for the experience lost.
“It’s been a great opportunity,” Horstman said. “I wouldn’t be the person I am today without all these people. I’m very happy about the journey.”
Women’s Basketball: Horstman, Englebrecht set tone for leadership
By ANDY WOLF