By Nicole Ramsey

This past week proved to be a rough one for the UC Santa Cruz women’s basketball team, and having to be out on the road constantly, away from the home crowd, hasn’t helped.

After starting off their season with a 4-1 record, the best in the program’s history, the Slugs have now slumped down to 4-4 after taking on William Jessup University, Chapman University and CSU East Bay over the weekend.

“Unfortunately we have not been doing well like we did at first,” coach Nikki Turner said. “We lost our last three games so it’s difficult.”

Since the Slugs’ home gym, the West Field House, is under construction, the team is forced to play all of their games on the road this season as well as practice at the East Field House gym, a less than ideal alternative.

“The gym is not even regulation size,” sophomore Molly Davisson said. “It’s smaller than a regular court, so it’s a different kind of practice for us.”

The Slugs now have to travel multiple times a week just to compete, which interferes with school because players have to miss more class than usual.

“The fact that we have to play all 25 games on the road is a challenge in itself,” Turner said. “It consists of playing three games in one week, so it can be really stressful.”

But some good news for the team is the addition of seven rookies to this year’s roster.

Freshman Mikaela Medeiros, who dislocated her kneecap in the last game against CSU East Bay, is one rookie making the leap from the high school level to college play.

“It was definitely a difficult transition and it’s more intense,” Medeiros said. “You have to focus a lot more and there’s more on the line.”

Being on the road for every game has proven to be a difficult situation, but the team is learning to adjust to the unusual circumstances of the season.

“It’s challenging being on the road most of the time,” Davisson said. “We all really want to be here, and [it makes] it difficult to try and focus.”

Next week the Slugs travel to Washington to compete against University of Puget Sound and Witworth University, both of which are nationally ranked.

“We are trying to improve on getting our team to where it should be,” Medeiros said. “Our main goal is going into every game, putting our best effort out there and making it to playoffs.”

Although the team has been in a slump, they hope to bounce back from the losses as a much stronger team.

“Our goal is to just play hard to the end,” Turner said. “And playing well no matter what happens.”