“There you go! That’s my baby! Good job!”
Graduate guard Shakena Richardson shouted this from the bench as her team, the blue team, won the Seton Hall women’s basketball team’s intrasquad scrimmage on Friday afternoon.
The scrimmage gave the team a chance to see how everyone can play with one another once the season starts, being that the starting lineup will see some drastic changes.
The team is without four of its five starters from last year, but veterans Richardson and Aleesha Powell are ready to show that they can take this team farther than it went last season. It will be a tough task for the two as they look to replace Ka-Deidre Simmons and Daisha Simmons in the backcourt.
While she sat all of last season last season after transferring from Iona, Powell is ready to show what she is capable of.
“It’s been a while, but I’m extremely excited to play,” she said. “It’s right around the corner so I’m being as patient as I can.”
She also credits her transition from the MAAC conference to the Big East to practicing with both Simmons last year.
“Seeing how physical the game is here compared to the MAAC and how much faster it is and being able to practice against two great guards every day in practice last year really helped me to adjust and see what the Big East is like,” Powell said.
Powell also wants fans to know that the team is ready to expand on what K. Simmons and D. Simmons did for the team last year.
“They set the bar high, but we’re taking it day by day and game by game and just doing the best we can.”
Richardson will also be making her Seton Hall debut this season after transferring from Florida State. She has no doubts about where she will be leading the team this year.
“I’m excited to have the opportunity to show what I’m capable of and helping the team get back to where they were last year and not miss a beat,” Richardson said.
Head coach Tony Bozzella is confident that this team can do well this year even with the loss of last year’s starters.
“This team is very talented,” he said. “We’re lead by Shakena, a tremendous guard. Aleesha is a tough player. Tab (Richardson-Smith) is an even better player than what she was and Tiffany Jones might as well have been a starter on our program last year.”
Bozzella is also aware of the pres- sure being placed on Richardson and Powell as they supplant last year’s guards.
“It’s hard to lose two great guards like we did,” he said. “But while these two kids aren’t those two kids, they’re good players.”
It is a big pair of shoes for Powell and Richardson to fill, but they have made it clear that they are up for the challenge.
“We’re building a program,” Richardson said.
Olivia Mulvihill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @OliviaMulvihill.