Women’s basketball confident in young team

Alex Holmes, Sports Editor

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The women’s basketball team has begun preparations for the 2016-17 season with a younger and larger team than recent years.

“We have a lot of youth on our team this season, so there’s a lot more teaching early on,” said Head Coach Kate Costanzo. “It’s exciting though because there’s a lot of potential and we have a lot of talent. There’s just more teaching going on compared to last season when we had five seniors who were leading the way with a lot of things.”

Forward Sadie Longo, ’19, and guard Madison Caufield, ’18, agreed that having a young team has brought a new dynamic and sense of leadership to the team.

“Last year we had four really talented and good leaders that were seniors, and now we have one senior and two juniors, so the leadership is different,” Longo said. “But the sophomores and I think even the freshmen have been stepping up and taking leadership roles and keeping the team accountable.”

The captains this year are Caufield and Amanda Beebe, ’18, the two juniors on the team.

“Our chemistry is already pretty strong, but [we] definitely want to improve in that aspect, and getting everyone used to … the fast pace at which we play in addition to improving our offense and how comfortable we feel in it,” Caufield said.

I’m looking forward to seeing them be successful on the court. It’s always fun when everything starts to click—that’s always the exciting part.”

— Kate Costanzo

Costanzo said practices during the preseason have consisted of fundamental work and preparing defensive plays.

“Once games start there is more preparation for who our opponent is, so that changes a little bit, but everything else stays the same. Our focus on fundamentals, and getting better each day and watching film stays the same,” Costanzo said.

In addition to fine-tuning skills on the court, the team is working to create an atmosphere centered on a common goal of reaching the conference championship by using what they termed a ‘culture focus.’

“Last year was positivity; this year we’re focusing on ring culture,” Longo said. “Last year, we made it to the championship game in the conference, and this year, we want to win it.”

The team’s main goal for the season is to make it back to the playoffs and find success in conference games.

“I think if we get better each day, we’re going to be in a really good place come the end of February,” Costanzo said. “Much like last season, our goal is always to make the playoffs, and that’s a realistic expectation for this year’s group too even though we’re young. We’re looking at it as we’re reloading, not rebuilding, so that’s kind of what our motivation is. There are a lot of new players on the team, so we’ve got a lot to prove.”

In addition to achieving their goals, Caufield and Longo said they are looking forward to simply having more time playing together as a team.

“We all love playing the game, so just getting to play with each other, and seeing how we grow together and the success that will come from all the work we put in up to this point and through the rest of the season will be exciting,” Caufield.

“I’m looking forward to seeing them be successful on the court. It’s always fun when everything starts to click—that’s always the exciting part,” Costanzo said. “The team enjoys the game so that’s good motivation.”

The women will play their first game on Tuesday, Nov. 15, at Mount Union College at 7:30 p.m.

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