Newman women’s basketball: Building the right path

Feb 24, 2023

The Newman University women’s basketball program second season under the direction of co-head coaches Drew Johnson and Nicole Ohlde Johnson is drawing to a close. Although the Jets will finish the MIAA season in the bottom half of the standings, there is good reason to believe they are on the right path.

A year ago Newman finished last in the league’s final ledger with just one conference win and a 3-25 overall record. Heading into its 2022-23 MIAA regular season finale, the Jets are 6-15 in conference play with an opportunity to earn a spot in the postseason tournament with a victory at home against Central Oklahoma. Newman hosts the visitors from Edmond tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. in the Fugate Gymnasium.

Drew Johnson believes his team has a “puncher’s chance to qualify for post-season, but is more excited about what is ahead.

“The MIAA is really, really, really good. And we know that night in and night out, it’s gonna take your best effort…(it) would be really special to be able to get to Kansas City, but in the grander picture of things we’ve taken a big next step…more than double the win total and a chance to get to double digit wins.”

“It’s a process oriented thing. If all we do is worry about wins and losses, then the only thing that matters is the starting the end of the game. We very much want to focus on the process of getting to where we want to be,” Johnson added, “That is hard work in the weight room. That is the hard work in the classroom. That is being great teammates. 

“Those kinds of things will last longer than their time here as players and if we can really focus on that, the wins take care of themselves.”

Senior Britney Ho leads the Jets in scoring averaging 17.4 points per game and she appreciates the focus of her coaches.

“It’s very process driven program and I really just appreciate that. We don’t really base a lot of stuff on wins and losses. I mean, it definitely does help, but just the growth and the progress of everybody as a individual, as a player and just helping us grow through this thing and try to start the foundation blocks of building the program in the right direction is most important.”

Johnson knows it takes a special kind of player to embrace the Jets’ approach.

“We live in an instant gratification culture where everybody wants to be able to get it at the click of a button or have Amazon deliver it two days from today. When we really talk about the long term picture and what it means to be a great teammate and investing into something that you may not get immediate returns on, when we do that, the rewards and the smiles and the joy that these players end up receiving is much greater than that.It’s fun to see the players come together in the locker room and really rally around that mission.”

If the Jets beat Central Oklahoma and Washburn loses its final game, they will earn a spot in the MIAA tourney in Kansas City to become the first Newman team to qualify for the league’s prestigious showcase.