The U.N.I. women’s basketball team plans to make another run at a Missouri Valley title even though they will be without the reigning player of the year in the conference. Senior guard Jacqui Kalin will miss the entire season with a knee injury. The Panthers have made two straight trips to the NCAA Tournament.
U.N.I. coach Tanya Warren says their makeup has changed, but their mentality and purpose has not. She says they will continue to prepare and try to get better each day with the goal of being in position to win the conference championship.
The biggest hole that will need to be filled in Kalin’s absence is her leadership. Senior guard K.K. Armstrong will be tasked with filling Kalin’s role as the team’s point guard, but Warren says that she will not be the only one who has to be a better leader. She says Armstrong does a good job of making people around her better by her actions, and they will ask her to be a little more vocal.
Kalin says she has nothing but confidence in Armstrong’s ability to rally the team. She says they are different people and Armstrong has her own way to take care of the team. Armstrong says that U.N.I. will not be all that different from an X’s and O’s standpoint without Kalin on the floor.
Armstrong says they will miss Kalin’s shooting, and the other guards will all have to to take on more of that role. The Panthers are the reigning Missouri Valley Conference champions after losing just one league game a year ago. They open the season on November 6th against Maryville.