With the arrival of two new coaches to the program, the girls basketball team faces many challenges this season.
“Because we are starting over with new coaches, and because we lost so many seniors [last season], it’s going to be a rebuilding year,” said Co-Captain Stephanie Hauer ’14. “I think that will definitely be a challenge, but it will help us grow stronger.”
Co-Captain Liz Jacobs ’14 said, “It was a bit of a growing year [last year] and [although] this season will be one too, hopefully [the team] will get some more wins [this year].” The girls are trying to recover from a 5–14 record during the 2012–2013 season.
Returning varsity player Julia Ryan ’16 said, “The team should not just forget about the problems we had last season, but remember them so that [this year] we can move forward by correcting those issues.”
Dan Van Hise will be replacing Steffanie Shoop as the head coach.
“Coach Van Hise is very organized, [so] we will have a set plan of action for every practice, with specific drills [designed] to help us with what we really need to work on,” said Ryan. “I really like this because it forces all of the players to work hard but also to focus.”
New assistant coach Clarence White currently coaches the Princeton basketball club teams. “A lot of people know [White] from the recreational league and from [the travel league],“ said Hauer, “so people are already used to his style.”
Ryan said that some of the girls hardly even consider White a new coach, as the majority of them played with him when they were younger. As a result, White has already developed bonds with some of the girls, and can identify areas that are in need of improvement.
“[Van Hise and White] are definitely looking forward to building the program in the future,” said Jacobs. “So it’s going to be a tough season but also a really great opportunity [to improve] because they are going to expect [a lot] of hard work from us.”
The new coaches have already made changes to the program. “[There are] no more 6 a.m. practices,” said Hauer. “So that’s a good thing!”
“Also, this season [the varsity team] will have some practices with the JV team, so another big change is that we will be a more unified program,” said Ryan.
About 25 girls showed up for tryouts, and among them were many new, younger players. “We are doing a lot more fundraising this year [to promote] more awareness [for] girls basketball … I think there will be a whole new energy within the team and for the sport [this year],” said Hauer.
“These younger players [who are] coming in to take the spots of our graduated seniors will need to step into bigger roles on the teams,” said Ryan.
The captains have been working with the new coaches as they prepare for the start of the season. “We have been talking about things that are going to help [the team] improve, such as what [the girls] can be doing on [their] own time in the off-season,” Jacobs said.
With new players, it is also important to foster teamwork and team unity before the season begins. “We lost a lot of really important seniors last year who were a big part of the team,” said Hauer. “Hopefully the freshmen, new players, and remaining players can become a really close-knit team.”