This season is the first time the women’s basketball team will have four women from the same high school on the team in Coach Kate Costanzo’s time at Allegheny.
Jessica Mrdjenovich, ’16, Rachel Vigliotti, ’16, Iffie Uwazie, ’16, and Madison Caufield, ’18, played together at Oakland Catholic and during the summer through Amatuer Athletic Union (AAU). Each came to Allegheny for a great academic setting and a place they could play basketball.
“I knew coming out of high school that I was at a DIII level and I wanted to stay close to home,” Uwazie said. “I looked at other places but Allegheny had the reputation for pre-med that I was looking for and I met great people here.”
Costanzo said she wanted all four women to come because she knew they would do well and be good for Allegheny.
“I recognized them in the summer before their senior year and we built a connection,” Costanzo said. “Their high school team was very successful and made it to the state championships their senior year.”
Playing for so long together has made a seamless connection for the women and that translates to the court and to their friendships.
“This is the seventh year Rachel and I have played together and we played with Madison for one year in high school and some in AAU,” Mrdjenovich said.
Costanzo said the four women read each other well because they have played so much together.
“Rachel and Jessica are what opponents may call tenacious defenders,” Costanzo said.
Mrdjenovich added that playing the same position as Vigliotti means they know how each will play and challenges each to try something new.
Vigliotti said since she has been playing with the Oakland Catholic women for so long they mesh in a way that is hard to compete with.
“We know each other like the back of our hands on and off of the court,” Vigliotti said.
Caufield said the team has a chemistry that teams do not see often and that is a huge benefit for the team.
“It’s beneficial because we increase team chemistry and it eliminates individualistic dynamics,” Vigliotti said.
Though the women do not see their game play any differently with each other, they agreed that they can respond faster to each other because they have been together longer.
“I think our bond brings a kind of sisterhood to the team and adds more chemistry,” Uwazie said. “I don’t know if I play differently around them, but we have a flow and understand each other better.”