Yeowomen Look to Build on Season’s Successes in Semifinals of NCAC


Courtesy of Oberlin Athletics

The women’s basketball poses for a team photo in Philips gym.

Last Tuesday’s win against Kenyon College marks the Oberlin women’s basketball team’s 21st win of the season, solidifying its impressive record of 21–3 in 2021–22 and matching a school record. The Yeowomen, who are currently ranked second in the conference and seventh in the region, take on Ohio Wesleyan University, ranked third in the conference, in the semifinals of the North Coast Athletic Conference tournament this Friday.

Second-year Gina Lombard, who was an NCAC Player of the Week last November, cited the coaches as a big part of the team’s success. 

“It’s so exciting to learn from coaches who have accomplished what we want to do,” she said. “I chose Oberlin because I loved that they were trying to turn the program around, which is a cool thing to be a part of. The idea of building a program up is really appealing.”

Head Coach Stephany Dunmyer comes to Oberlin from Virginia Wesleyan University, where she earned Old Dominion Athletic Conference Coach of the Year honor three times and led the Marlins to the NCAA tournament in 2015. She also assisted Division-I Indiana State University in earning the regular season conference title.

Dunmyer, an accomplished coach, reflected on the impact that her own coaches had on her and her desire to instill that same leadership and trust in her own team. 

“I knew I wanted to coach from my sophomore year of college,” Dunmyer said. “I had an amazing opportunity to be head coach at Virginia Wesleyan, but after their leadership had changed I looked elsewhere. When the job at Oberlin opened up, Natalie [Winkelfoos] and mine’s philosophies for the program at Oberlin connected.”

Despite confidence in the culture that the Athletic Director Natalie Winklefoos desires to create, there were still some uncertainties as to how the team would approach the season. However, those fears were soon put to rest when the new athletes showed up for the program.

“Not having a competitive season due to the pandemic was hard, but it allowed us to focus on recruiting and the culture we wanted to create,” Dunmyer said. “We have 11 kids who have never played collegiate basketball, so there were definitely some unknowns. But I go back to our first game, which was at home against Alma [College], where Gina led with 29 points. The successes from that game truly made us believe.” 

The team’s strong emphasis on trust and collaboration has contributed to its successes just as much as individual talents, and the team members’ shared goals are top of mind. 

“We know what we’re capable of, and though we are not as experienced, we proved we can compete with everyone,” Lombard said. “Being 13–1 at home and going into the playoffs with a home court advantage, we are confident in our ability to win a championship. We’re so focused on continuing to build the history. We are never satisfied.” 

First-year Camille Zinaich, who earned January NCAC Player of the Week and Division III Hoops Team of the Week accolades, wrote in an email to the Review that her expectations were not formulated by past successes or by a motivation to prove herself in the face of a changing program. 

I didn’t know how much I would play or what my role would be on the team, but whatever it was going to be I was gonna give it my all,” she wrote. “We have so much talent and so many players that are willing to give it their all. This team is a family and we want to make history at Oberlin. This team wants a lot of things, whether it’s our team goals or individual goals, and we are gonna achieve all of them.”

As a member of a team making history, Zinaich looks to the semifinals with a new fire, in the face of a conference who didn’t acknowledge the team’s full potential. 

“In past years, Oberlin wasn’t a top team and people didn’t take us seriously, but ever since our new culture, people know who we are now,” Zinaich wrote.

Tip-off is 7:30 p.m. this Friday at DePauw University, where the Yeowomen aim to best the third-seeded Ohio Wesleyan Bishops.