HIBBING — The Hibbing Community College women’s basketball team might be 13-1 in the Northern Division, but there’s still room to improve.

That’s the rallying cry for the Cardinals as they try to round into shape for the Region XIII Tournament the first weekend of March.

Hibbing only has two games left in the regular season and that first one is set for today when Vermilion comes to town for a 5:30 p.m., MCAC Northern Division contest at Cardinal Gymnasium.

The phrase Hibbing coach Kate Brau has used all year is “Continue to build.”

“We need to make sure that we continue to improve to make sure we’re playing our best basketball by next weekend,” Brau said. “Next weekend is determined by how we play this week.

“We’ve had a couple of good practices, and some great contests last week heading into this week. We want to carry that momentum through until March 2.”

The biggest reason this team is successful not only comes with talent, but heart as well.

“We’ve always recruited women who love basketball,” Brau said. “The one thing we’ve appreciated and enjoyed with this team this season is how much they love the game. It’s easy to coach players when they want to play.

“I’ve always said that I’ll take work ethic and a love for basketball over talent any day. This has been a team that has been committing to our program and to each other for an entire season. We couldn’t be more grateful.”

The other important element this team has is its unselfishness. With two 2,000-point scorers and some 1,000-point scorers on the team, was there going to be enough shots to go around?

“At the start of the season, we had our concerns,” Brau said. “We knew we brought in two 2,000-point scorers and numerous 1,000-point scorers from great programs. It was a joke at the start of the season that we might need to basketballs on the floor.

“This team is a diverse group of women, coming from different areas of the region, the states and the world. To have them come together and play as a team, has been a joy.”

That group has to come together for two more division games, including this one against the Ironwomen.

“Before any game, we communicate our expectations, and what they need to do to beat a team,” Brau said. “That would be no different. We also want to play great basketball in honor of our sophomores.”

It will be sophomore day before the game, so Brau will be honoring Sherea’ Cherenfant, Hannah Morris, Shauna Kavajcez and Stacie Lokken.

“We’re honoring their commitment, dedication and leadership to our program,” Brau said. “We’re not only go to play for our team, but also for them.”

It would be an important game for Hibbing to stay even with Northland, which also has one loss in the division.

“We need to compete from the opening tip, as we do in every game,” Brau said. “The region tournament is right around the corner, and there are still results to be determined. I know our team can taste it, that National Tournament.

“I don’t think today’s game will be any different.”

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