Return of Women’s Basketball

Only two games into the season, Swarthmore women’s basketball is just getting underway, and they are hungry for success. This season follows two turbulent semesters for the women’s basketball team that concluded with the Head Coach resigning earlier this semester. The Garnet redeemed a close loss to Widener University last Tuesday with a strong 64-51 win over Arcadia University on Friday. Coming off a year impacted by COVID regulations, they are anxious to get back on the court as a team.

Captain and guard Kim Kockenmeister ʼ23 described this team sentiment. “Going into the season I feel excited to just be back with my teammates and friends and have our team atmosphere back. It’s been a long awaited season.”

Dana Bandurick ʼ23, the 2019 Centennial Conference Rookie of the year, reiterated Kockenmeister’s enthusiasm for this new season. “I feel even more excited to play because it has really been so long since we have been able to be together as a team and compete.” Bandurick continued, “After missing so much time, I feel even more grateful to be able to play and especially grateful to be playing with such a great group.”

Captain and guard Alyssa Hayashi ʼ25 is similarly ready to experience her first basketball season at Swarthmore. “I am excited for what this season holds for the Swarthmore women’s basketball team, and I am so happy to be a part of such an amazing team with so much talent and potential,” Hayashi said.

In addition to being back in the physical swing of things, the players really value the mental benefit of the game.

“Being able to have an outlet for my mental health has been really beneficial but also has kept me very busy, which I love,” said Kockenmeister. 

Hayashi added, “Given what our country and world is facing, basketball gives me a welcome outlet.”

There is something uniquely special about the Swarthmore women’s basketball team: their youth. With eight of their thirteen players being freshmen, the team has great potential not only for this season but for the next four years.

Hayashi, one of the eight, spoke to this point. “I am so excited to see how far we will go this season. I feel like we have so much potential as a young team, so there will be a lot of learning and growth.”

“Because our team is primarily underclassmen and small, our team dynamic has consisted of a heavy emphasis on every single player playing an important role on our team,” said Bandurick.

Speaking on the freshmen, Kockenmeister added, “Each and everyone of them has stepped up to the plate, and you would never know they are a freshman if you talked or played with them.” She continued, “They truly are awesome teammates who are hungry for a competitive season.”

“We are so lucky to be able to have such a great and talented group of freshmen with so much potential,” agreed Bandurick. “It’s been so exciting to see all of them adjust so well into a college setting and continue to get even better.”

And as for the future of the program Hayashi discussed the potential of having a freshman dominant team. “We are definitely in a unique position with eight freshmen, but I think it is an experience that we can’t take for granted. It is a great opportunity to build our program together over four years.” 

Bandurick echoed, “The heavy emphasis on the roles the underclassmen play will set us up for even more successful seasons in the future.”

Although the future looks very bright for Swarthmore women’s basketball, they are focused and determined to succeed in the present competitive season. 

The team will continue their road to success on Saturday, Nov. 20th, facing Ursinus College in Collegeville, PA.

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