The Women’s Basketball team will kick off the 2013-14 season with a cross country trip to Redlands, CA to play in the Lee Fulmer Tip-Off Classic this weekend.
The Lady Hawks will play Chapman University Nov. 15 before taking on the University of Redlands on Nov. 16.
Head Coach Jamie Seward said he sees this trip as a good opportunity for his fairly young team.
“There are a lot of positives coming out of this trip,” Seward said. “It’ll be a good experience going away and will provide us with another bonding experience.”
The camaraderie the team already possesses, along with their level of talent, counterbalances their youth and inexperience, Seward said.
“The transition from high school basketball to college was different,” first-year forward Courtney Irby said, citing fast paced play and players competing with consistent energy as two big variances the collegiate level of play holds.
But Irby, like Seward, said she isn’t concerned with underclassmen filling a majority of the Lady Hawks’ roster this season.
“There is not one day that we are not pushing it, giving it our all,” Irby said. “Everybody can contribute to the team 100 percent. We are very fit, athletic and we can use this against other teams to try to tire them out.”
Seward said the team’s demeanor and attitude during practices creates both a fun and competitive environment that illustrates just how physically fit the team is. The speed the Lady Hawks have this season, as well as their versatility among positions, gives the team flexibility and Seward the chance as a coach to change up the lineup, he said.
“We need to work on using our quickness to attack in transition offense and exploiting other teams who have bigger, slower players,” third-year Captain Shannan Walker said.
Walker, along with second-year Captain Goldie Harrison and fourth-year Captain Jeanette Scott, the team’s returning leader in points and rebounds, will provide the Lady Hawks a source for both leadership and scoring opportunities as co-captains this season, Seward said.
Seward said while injuries are often inevitable, with a team of only 10 players the importance of the entire team remaining healthy will be critical for the Lady Hawks performing at their best as the season continues.
With no other foreseen setbacks baring such injuries, Seward said he is optimistic about the direction the team is headed in.
“The team is making daily progress on the court and as a coach that’s what you want to see,” Seward said. “We will only get better as the season progresses.”
The 2012-13 season provided an overall season record of 24-4 for the Lady Hawks and the program’s first SUNYAC Championship win via a 64-53 victory over Lady Blue Knights of Geneseo. The Lady Hawks’ then took their bid to the NCAA Div. III Women’s Basketball Championship Tournament, losing in the first round 61-45 to Babson College.
Seward said while the team had a successful season last year, each year is independent of what has happened in the past and what will happen in the future. What remains the same, he said, is the goal.
Walker said the team is capable of playing with great teams and is hoping to have success during the season and into playoff time.
“Our goal is to win SUNYACs again and then go on to win the NCAA tournament,” Walker said. “We scrimmaged two very good times this preseason, and we know we can compete with anyone in the country.”