By Kristen Griffith (Whetstone Staff Writer)
The women’s basketball team has won 10 games this season, already doubling their five wins from all of last year.
“It is an undeniable improvement from last year and we hope to keep getting better and eventually become a serious competitor for a conference championship,” said sophomore Brionna Johnson.
They went from losing 20 games in the 2013–2014 season with two conference wins, to achieving six conference wins.
These Wolverines made changes that led to the improved record, players say. The last time they had a winning record was four years ago.
Johnson said the way the team interacts on and off the court helped, too.
“I think our chemistry has improved,” she said. “We all spend a lot of time with each other outside of basketball and I think it reflects on the court.”
Senior Roniece Williams said the team clicks.
“Everybody just loves being on the team together,” she said.
Johnson said everyone on the team has a key role.
“We all have the responsibility of picking each other up when we’re down and becoming better players every day,” she said.
Not only has the chemistry been positive, but the willingness to practice early and commitment to the team improved greatly.
Coach James Wearden said he scheduled 5 a.m. practices, “so it didn’t interfere with the real reason why they are in college.” He said they did not complain about it.
“I see more commitment to basketball this season,” Johnson said. “I think everybody worked hard in the off-season and it shows because we already improved our record from last season.”
Their improved record includes a win against York College.
“We beat York for the first time in my nine years here,” Wearden said.
Williams was happy with the win for another reason.
“There was Twitter ‘jab’ (criticism) from one of the (York) players that didn’t even play last season,” she said.
Sophomore Adriane Fraser said beating Southern Virginia University was a great achievement even though they had a rocky start.
“Eventually we focused and that was the best team basketball that we played,” she said. “Everybody contributed in some shape or form.
Wearden believes every player adds something to the team, even if they do not start.
“They understand that they may not get the playing time they want but they help by working hard in practice,” he said. “Starters don’t make teams. Teams make starters.”
Williams said everyone brings something different to the group.
“Whether it’s speed, rebounding, hustling,” she said. “We just need to know how to put it all together and have a real good game.”
The team struggles with playing two good halves. Fraser’s team goal is to play a good entire game, “Instead of playing 20 minutes or a good 15 minutes.”
Johnson said if they could play a whole game, they would be unstoppable.
“We often tend to play a great first half and a bad second half or vice versa,” she said.
After the team’s seventh win, they went through a four-game losing streak.
“Every team in the country goes through a period when they’re not doing their best,” Wearden said. “Injuries, coming from break, players worry about class. We’re going back into the direction we should be.”
Wearden said the goal is to make post season playoffs and have a winning record.
“We try not to think bigger than that,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll have new goals in a month.”