"Last year was definitely a historic year," said head women's basketball coach Amy Reed.
In the 2015-16 season, the women's basketball team enjoyed amazing and unprecedented success. One of their many accomplishments included the team's best record to date at 20-7. For two weeks, the team was ranked in the top 25 —- breaking into the rankings for the first time in program history. On top of all that, the team made it to the conference championship game for the first time as well.
All this success has both the coaches and the team even more hungry for a championship title and another successful season. With only a two week break after last season, the team has been working hard ever since and their eyes are firmly set on the prize.
With all the breakthroughs and incredible accomplishments from last year, the team is expected to perform just as well —– if not better.
“It’s weight on our shoulders, but I think we will react fine,” stated Jessica Glaz, a third year Packaging Science major and co-captain of the team. “We have so many new players that will step up and give us that much more firepower towards our success.”
The team should look fairly similar, since it only graduated two seniors. However, there are some new faces from the freshman class filling in some open spots. Aside from the new recruits, the returning players are also a force be reckoned with.
“Each year our freshman class has become expediently better,” stated fourth year New Media Design major and co-captain, Julia Bender.
Reed is confident in the team’s abilities and willingness to step up. “From top to bottom —– players 1-15 —– are strong,” she said.
One of the biggest advantages this team has is their bench. The roster is filled to the brim with players who can come into the game at any given moment and do whatever needs to be done.
“If one person or two people aren’t performing and aren’t making their shots, we have three or four other people on the bench who are just as good, if not better shooters,” explained Reed.
Besides having a deep bench, there are other areas and skill sets that this team already has. If they continue to practice and fine tune these strengths, the team will surely be unstoppable as the season progresses.
One of their specialities is their team chemistry. Bender could not stress the importance of this skill enough. “You can have the greatest players in the world, but if they’re not going to play well together, then your team is not going to be that successful,” she said.
The chemistry and full roster, when coupled with ferocious energy, translates into the incredible offensive this team has. Indeed, the coaches and players agree that offensive is their biggest strength and will not have any major struggles with it this year. Their focus is on the opposite side of the spectrum —– defense.
As Reed describes, since the team is doing so well offensively, it's sometimes hard to balance defensive. "When you push the ball as hard as we do, and you score as many points as we do, it's naturally going to happen where the other team scores more points," she explained.
Glaz was in agreement. “All of us can score, so offense isn’t our problem," she said. "Our main focus this year is defense, defense, defense.”
The coaches and players all understand the role of improving their defensive skills, so getting past this barrier should not be a challenge. During some of their practices, the team sits down and watches game film and then works on whatever they feel needs improvements.
“They want to know what they are doing wrong, and they want to know how to fix it,” said Reed, discussing her players' willingness to learn. .
The team, piled high withll talent, is ready to work hard and make even more history for the program. The end goal is to bring home the championship, but the coaches and players alike know they have to focus on the now before they get there.
“Just taking it one game at a time really is going to be key,” said Reed. “Especially since expectations are so high, we can’t look ahead to the big prize.”
Basketball is a very fundamental sport, meaning it is based on movement skills, such as running, throwing, and catching. Players have to keep working at fine tuning their everyday skill sets. Fundamentals are what wins games, and this team is aware of how to they will have to take it step-by-step, game-by-game to achieve their goals.
“I have no doubt in my mind that we should be incredibly successful this year," said Bender. "It’s just a matter of not overlooking anybody [and] taking every game seriously, because we’re going to face a lot of very good competition."
Despite the challenges ahead, Reed has nothing but faith in her athletes. “We truly have a balanced team, who has a lot of talent, so I think the key is going to be accepting roles, playing together, having good chemistry, and trying to get better every day.”
With the game plan in set, this team should be able to get things done.
With this all being said, the team's season officially kicked off Tuesday, November 15th at the College of Brockport. Their first home game will take place on Monday, November 28th. Come out and support the Tigers as they make their journey towards success.