SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Just a year removed from a season with a single win, the Rocky Mountain College women's basketball team posted its best finish in program history making it to the quarterfinal round of the NAIA national women's basketball tournament.
In October 2021, the Battlin' Bears were picked to finish fifth in the Frontier Conference pre-season polls, and though their season ends on a sour note losing to the Thomas More Saints 60-58 in the quarterfinal round of the NAIA tournament, players and coaches feel little need to hang their heads.
"We didn't just come here and just play basketball. You know, we came here to bust our butt; to prove a lot of people wrong. We came into the season as underdogs, and we proved a lot of people wrong, honestly," said junior Kloie Thatcher. "I can't explain how proud I am of this team."
"I'm so proud of these guys. Obviously, when you lose nail biters like that, it hurts, it stings, but it's just been a pleasure to coach these guys and it's been an incredible ride. A lot of firsts along the way, and just so incredibly proud of these kids," said Rocky Mountain head women's coach Wes Keller.
Previously, the Rocky Mountain College women's team has earned five different appearances to the NAIA national tournament (1988, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020*) and in four games, never cracked the win column. As Keller noted, the 2021-22 season featured many firsts for the Rocky Mountain College women and it was due to the tenacious attitude his players attacked the season with.
"It just goes to show a lot of the kind of people that are in our program. We have a lot of kids with a lot of toughness and grit, and proud to be their coach," said Keller. "Bunch of, you know, hard nosed kids that, you know — we've had an incredible ride."