After a 61-44 loss at Wyoming Saturday the plan for Utah State women’s basketball was a Sunday bus ride to Denver for a two-day stay, and then on to Colorado Springs for a Wednesday game at Air Force.
But the government shutdown meant Air Force could not play games and Aggie Head Coach Jerry Finkbeiner figured a return to Logan was imminent.
Then Congress voted to end the stalemate so Monday morning the Aggies, who couldn’t get out of Laramie Sunday because the interstate was closed by snow, headed for Denver.
And Finkbeiner got back to grappling with the challenges that result from a 4-15 record.
For a veteran head coach of 29 years in college basketball, this is not what Finkbeiner had in mind for his sixth year in charge of Utah State women’s basketball.
He has coached in 830 games, and won 63 percent of them, mostly at Oral Roberts and Utah State, and never with a team with a 4-15 record.
Even last year’s team, with the youngest starting lineup in women’s Division One basketball, finished 17-15.
Last year’s first year players are now sophomores with experience, yet the current record doesn’t reflect it.
“This year, coincidentally, we’re now the second youngest team in all of Division One,” Finkbeiner said this week. “We are still so young, and I lose sight of that. I lose patience with it and I think some of our fans may, too.”
Finkbeiner resorts to words like frustrating and bewildering reflecting back to the start of practice in the Fall to remember his expectations.
The coach said good college teams have three ‘scorers’ in their lineup. He said the Aggies have four in Hailey Bassett, Rachel Brewster, Shannon Dufficy and Olivia West.
“It’s just that we don’t seem to have more than one or two of them scoring at the same time in any game.
“You can tell I am still searching. In the pre-season we played more road games (10) than anybody in our conference and I think it was a factor.
“But I am very excited, still, about where this team can go and what is left in this season. I am sure we will start hitting our stride, if we have patience and continue to work.”
Ten games remain, seven are against teams in the top half of the Mountain West Conference standings.