Women’s basketball head coach Tony Bozzella has embraced the overall youth of his squad by naming sophomore LaTecia Smith and redshirt freshman Kaity Healy co-captains.
Smith is no stranger to the court, as she appeared in all but two games last season for the Pirates. She averaged 11.8 minutes per game as a freshman and made three starts for the Hall. Healy, on the other hand, has yet to see regular season action for the Pirate squad.
For a team with scarce veteran leadership – Tara Inman and Lubirdia Gordon are the only seniors on the roster – Bozzella did not have many upperclassmen to pick from. In choosing the captains, he was less concerned with the fact that the team had eight freshmen and more focused on the players who worked the hardest.
“[Smith and Healy are] the two hardest workers in our programs,” Bozzella said. “Two great kids, great role models, and what Seton Hall women’s basketball is all about.”
The pair of guards did not expect to be named captains, but they graciously accepted their roles.
“I was very surprised,” Healy said of being appointed a captain. “Coach B called me into his office and told me and TT together that we were the captains. It’s an honor and I’m very privileged to be a captain.”
Smith echoed the sentiment, and said, “It just goes to show the confidence that the coaching staff and the players have in us. It’s surprising, but it’s a good thing too.”
The two believe that they have adjusted well to their roles over the course of the offseason. Healy said that she was hesitant in her role at first, but she feels comfortable knowing that her teammates trust her. Smith said that support from her teammates and coaches have helped her become a better leader and a better captain as well.
“So far it’s been very good,” Smith said. “It’s definitely new to me, but with the support of my teammates and the coaches, I’ve embraced it. I’ve learned a lot about not only myself but about the program in general.”
Bozzella defined what each of these players bring to the team in terms of leadership.
“They’re each different in their roles,” Bozzella said. “Kaity is more of a vocal leader, and TT is more of a ‘Follow me, I’m working really hard all the time’ kind of leader. They complement each other really well.”
Smith said that she is trying to be more vocal, noting that it is something she has been working on since she was named captain. Generally, she said she wants to be more positive.
With Healy and Smith leading the way, the Hall’s chemistry has steadily improved.
“We have a great bond on the court, but we have a better bond off the court,” Smith said.
Healy agreed, and said, “Off the court we’re fantastic, and on the court our chemistry is really clicking. Everybody is having good days.”
While the Pirates may be youthful, the two captains are hoping they can spark some growth.
“We’re young but we’re very talented,” Healy said. “In the years to come, we’re going to be the best team in the Big East, by far.”
In search of a third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, expectations are high at SHU. The two new captains are optimistic, though.
“We have a lot of weapons and a lot of talent,” Smith said. “We work very hard so that’s going to take us a long way.”
Matt Lapolla can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @MatthewLapolla.