Women’s basketball confident going into 2011-12 season
Following back-to-back seasons at the bottom of the Big East conference, with 1-15 records each year, the women’s basketball team returns to the court Friday night against Florida Gulf Coast in Walsh Gymnasium.
“We are hungry,” senior Tajay Ashmeade said. “When you are doubted all you ever want to do is prove them wrong. Not only do we want to prove them wrong but want to prove it to ourselves.”
The team returns nine players from last year’s team that finished 8-22 under first year head coach Anne Donovan.
Last season the team was last in the Big East in scoring defense, field goal percentage, and second-to-last in rebounding margin.
“We have to start rebounding better so we can run better,” Donovan said. “We have to get more stop on defense too.”
However, this is a difficult task as the team lost their leading rebounder Kandice Green who quit the team for person reasons.
Green averaged 8.1 rebounds per game, three more then the next highest and also finished second on the team with 11.5 points per game.
The team does return last season’s leading scorer in senior Jasmine Crew.
Last year was Crew’s first as a Pirate after transferring from Northeastern, and averaged 11.6 points per game.
As one of the two seniors on the team Crew, is taking the leadership role.
“It’s a big responsibility,” Crew said. “Just focusing on making sure the freshman are adjusting well and understand what is going on.”
The team’s other senior is Tajay Ashmeade. This summer, Ashmeade played for the Jamaican National team in the 2011 FIBA Americas Championship for Women, in hope of making the Olympics.
Her team fell short of their goal going 1-3 with Ashmeade playing a bench role.
“It was a great experience,” Ashmeade said. “It helped me grow a lot. It does not just teach you skills of basketball, it teaches you skills with others, and how to carry yourself. Also how to be a well-rounded player, not to mention the girls were older and much more experienced.”
The other key returning player from last year’s team that is returning is sophomore Ka-Deidre Simmons. Simmons averaged 7.2 points per game and was one of two players to make an appearance in every game.
Although the two seniors on the team have not had much success in their time, they are up to the challenge of making their senior year a memorable on.
“The challenge of being a better player,” Ashmeade said of what she is looking forward to this upcoming year. “The challenge of learning and the challenge of just becoming the best that Seton Hall basketball can be.”
Although, the team was picked to finish last in the Big East, according the preseason conference coaches’ poll, Donovan can see this team making some noise.
“The highs,” said Donovan, discussing what she likes about the squad. “This team is going to surprise some people. We are going to work hard every day and that is going to translate to success.”
Opening tip against the Eagles is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
Stephen Valenti can be reached at Stephen.email@example.com