Although last year’s Swarthmore Women’s Basketball team did not live up to its own goals, the team showed an immense amount of promise for future success. Now, with a more cohesive squad and a strong resolve to change the tides after last year’s disappointing 3-21 season, the team holds high hopes about their prospects for a turnaround season.
Especially considering that all three wins last year came against Centennial Conference opponents, the seasoned team seems better prepared to face the tough conference competition, hopefully leading to postseason play. Even in some of the conference losses, the team held their own all the way to the bitter end, particularly in two notable losses to McDaniel and Franklin & Marshall, two Centennial Conference powerhouses, with scores of 51-55 and 61-65, respectively. To this end, the team continues their training with a positive outlook, with good reason, too, as the new season brings some exciting changes.
First and foremost, the team welcomes three new first-years: Guard Isabelle Ewart ’21, Guard/Forward Jayna Jones ’21, and Forward Kendall Tribus ’21. All three players are coming off of strong high school careers, and will look to contribute towards a potential Centennial Conference Championship run here soon. However, the freshmen do have their work cut out for them, as they must try to replace last year’s losses of G Jordyn Bell ’17 and G/F Maggie O’Neill ’17. O’Neill, in particular, led the team in minutes played and three-pointers, while Bell provided important minutes off the bench and strong leadership. Although both will surely be missed, the team looks forward to turning the page for a strong season ahead.
The main mentality shift for this upcoming season has come at the hands of this year’s seniors, hoping to go out on a high note. With F Bridget Scott ’18, G Hayley Raymond ’18, F Raina Williams ’18, and G/F Kemi Oladipo ’18, the team is clearly in good hands and leadership as the season approaches. Raymond and Williams both played at some point in every game last year, and Raymond scored the second most on the team. All four seniors will be called on even more this year to foster a winning culture for years to come.
“This season is definitely going to be a highlight.” Between the support of the coaching staff, athletics department, and our amazing seniors, we have all the pieces for a successful year,” said F Tina Holmgren ’20.
One test of this new team philosophy, and arguably the most exciting change to this year’s season, will come about halfway through with the scheduled winter break trip to Puerto Rico. Unfortunately, the aftermath of Hurricane Irma on the island has caused some rumors to spread that the trip will be cancelled. Nevertheless, the prospects of such a trip and cultural experience have the program abuzz. The trip serves as a midseason change of scenery, offering new competition, as well as introducing many students to a completely new cultural experience. Given that the team will only actually play two other organizations — Inter San German and UPR Mayaguez — there is potential for the team to contribute to the ongoing efforts to aid to the island’s rehabilitation. The trip does occur during the middle of conference regular season play, though, so there is definitely an argument to cancel as well for continuity’s sake. However, there are no definitive plans yet, so the team continues to await their trip’s fate.
Either way, the team will still return from winter break with a month of regular season play before any potential playoff berths, so they will need endurance and focus through the finish line. With the continued dominance of returning F Lindsay O’Sullivan ’20, who led the team in most offensive and defensive statistics last year, and strong support from G Lizzie Stiles ’20, the team leader in assists by far, the Garnet will look to take advantage of their young team’s health and energy.
“The team has been working really hard the past couple weeks, and we are all really excited to see our progress,” said F Abbie Posta ’20.
While the rest of the team shares Posta’s sentiment, the rest of campus eagerly awaits another exciting season and will surely show their support. The season opener will take place at home against Widener University on Nov. 15 at 6 p.m. The team and athletics department will no doubt expect a large crowd then and hopefully for the rest of the season, as the team pushes for a playoff berth this year.