Team chemistry priority for women

The women’s basketball team prepares to tip off the 2012-2013 season on Friday against NJIT in Walsh Gymnasium at 5p.m.

The team will face the Highlanders in the first game of a double-header in Walsh to kick off the new season for both the women’s and men’s teams. This will be the first time in program history that the two teams meet.

The Pirates will look to improve upon last season, in which they only won one Big East game, and finished the season 8-23 overall. With a mix of returning players and a recruiting class ranked No. 33 in the country by Hoopgurlz, third year head coach Anne Donovan said the team’s chemistry is the team’s top priority.

“Right now we still have to get our chemistry together,” Donovan said. “We’ve had so many players out and not practicing that we really haven’t gotten our chemistry together at all … for a team that’s trying to add seven new players we still are a work in progress. So at this point in the season, I’m just hoping to see chemistry and look at some of our combinations and be able to get that established.”

Injuries plagued this team last year, with guard Ka-Deidre Simmons being knocked out for the whole season, after being named to the Freshman All-Big East Team in 2010. The injuries continue this year with multiple players being out for the opener, including starting shooting guard Alexis Brown. Donovan said she will continue to focus on the positives through these injuries and on the opportunities it gives other players on the team.

“It’s just one more opportunity for somebody else to step up,” Donovan said. “For Terry Green to step up, for Tabitha Richardson-Smith, a freshman, to step up, so there’s a positive in that. It gives other people opportunity, but it does limit our time developing our chemistry so that’s my biggest concern right now is getting that established.”

The team will be boosted by the re-addition of Simmons, who said she is excited to get back on the court and help the team. “I had a whole year to get back into game mode in preseason,” Simmons said. “And all the practicing we’ve been doing now so I’m not yet a hundred but I’m going to play like it.”

On getting the team back to winning, Simmons said she focused on trusting Donovan’s leadership.

“We just have to buy into whatever coach wants us to do,” Simmons said. “Play the proper defense, play our defense, run the floor, put some more points on the board and stopping the ball on defense.

Brandon Biskobing can be reached at Brandon.Biskobing@student.shu.edu.

Author: Staff Writer

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