With a roster that includes seven sophomores and two freshmen and playing a number of higher classification teams, the young Lady Wildcats struggled to a 6-13 record and 1-3 mark in Region 6AA going into last Saturday’s game with Greenforest Christian.
Westminster got off to an 0-8 start while going up against Class AAAAAA teams Parkview, Lassiter, Coffee County and Douglas County and AAAAA squads North Atlanta and Northview.
“It was definitely frustrating at first,” coach Heather Karvis said. “We’re playing against big AAAAAA teams and we were a smaller AA school, especially with nine underclassmen. We have only three upperclassmen, so inexperience, coupled with playing these big teams, made a big difference.”
However, the Lady Wildcats began to rebound a little bit after that — going 6-5 since that slow start.
“We’ve been really turning the corner and playing well,” Karvis said. “We’ve been proving that we can run with some teams that, last year and a couple of years before that, we could not hang for a quarter with. I’m proud of them. They’ve worked together and they’ve worked really, really hard.”
The Lady Wildcats shined at the Westminster Holiday Classic in late December, finishing third in the tournament.
Karvis was especially encouraged by Westminster’s 44-33 victory Dec. 22 over North Atlanta — a team that beat the Lady Wildcats 58-17 only three weeks earlier — and a 53-39 loss to AA powerhouse Greater Atlanta Christian Jan. 15.
“If you look at North Atlanta, who we’ve played twice — the first time we lost by  points and the second, we won by 11 — and that was in a span of [three] weeks,” Karvis said. “That shows how far we’ve come. We lost to GAC by 14 points and they’re the second-ranked team in the state [in AA]. That’s huge for us. We’re starting to see some results now.”
Five-foot-9-inch guard Andi Carrandi was the leading scorer and rebounder for Westminster as of last Friday with about eight points and eight rebounds a game.
Five-foot-7 junior guard Liza Linginfelter was averaging 7.3 points, five rebounds, four steals and three assists per contest as of last Friday, while 5-8 sophomore point guard Christina Lopez and 5-5 freshman guard Hannah Morgan were each tallying 7.8 points a game.
The Lady Wildcats have lost 5-11 sophomore forward Jazmine Lester — who was averaging about seven points and 7.8 rebounds a game and was named to the Holiday Classic all-tournament team — for the season to a stress fracture in her right leg.
Five-foot-11 forward Spencer Izlar — the lone senior on the team — is not among Westminster’s statistical leaders, but has stepped up as a guide for the young Lady Wildcats, according to Karvis.
“She provides great leadership and works her tail off,” Karvis said. “It’s hard being a senior by yourself, but she has been the leader that helps the younger players understand how to work hard.”