Women's Basketball

2007-08 Marnie Dacko Season Blog

March 6

Hello Women's Basketball Fans,

Let the Madness begin! This has to be every coach's favorite time of the year...conference tournament time! We are very excited to get underway....So we are back in Philly for the third time in a month and twice in the last week. Ha! St. Joe's is hosting this year and Alumni Fieldhouse has been host to many historic games in the A-10...I think this year will be no different!

The team has been working hard all week to prepare for the tournament and they continue to improve every day. The energy and the focus have been there for the task at hand. Wish us luck and follow all the action on our website!

Until next time...

February 29

Hello Women's Basketball Fans,

It has been way too long since my last blog...I guess you can say I was on a writer's strike like the TV writers...Ha! As you know the team has been like a roller coaster throughout the season but as of late we have started to pick it up with back-to-back wins at home versus Dayton and St. Bonaventure.

The Dayton win was extra special because it was Senior Day. I told my assistants that it was going to be hard to hold the tears back. This group of seniors Alisha, Kate, Pam and Whitney are very special and they will hold a special place in my heart. They have done a lot for this program both on and off the court. We did the ceremony after the game because who would be able to coach or play a game after all of that emotion...

Before the seniors are done with their careers we still have one regular season game left and hopefully the Atlantic 10 Tournament. We are heading back down to Philly to play Temple on Saturday. We want the city to show us just as much "Brotherly Love" as it did earlier in the month when we won at LaSalle. The road trip consisted of a trip to the Rosanio household. Pam's family generously hosted the team for dinner the night before the game. Linda (Pam's mom) is a very good cook...she made chicken marsala, stuffed manicottis and this amazing rice pudding for dessert! I didn't know it was humanly possible to laugh any harder than we did that night. The team took turns playing a video game version of karaoke called Rock Band which includes two guitars, drum set and of course a microphone. Assistant coach Jodi Culbertson and freshmen Cerie Mosgrove were on the guitar while Karleena (our Director of Basketball Operations) beat a mean drum and yes, I was the lead singer. I sang my heart out as if I were on American Idol. No worries, I won't quit my day job fº.



Well, wish us luck down at Temple!

Until next time...

January 9

Happy New Year Women's Basketball Fans,

It has been awhile since my last blog. Between the holidays, recruiting and games, it's been a little busy. I hope you all enjoyed the holidays. It is a new year and with that being said we are off to a good start having beaten Longwood last Thursday night at home. We are still doing a good job of defending our home court, let's hope that continues! Now we just have to put it together on the road...

We have been getting great play out of our seniors lately. Pam and Kate have been on fire. They combined to make 18 out of 22 shots last game! Kate was also named A-10 Player of the Week for the third time already this season, so congrats to her. We'll need more of that from them - and for some others to step up as well - for us to have success in conference play.

We are almost done with the non-conference portion of our schedule with one game left, but not until January 22 at home vs. Yale. They Ivy League is off for three weeks in January so that's why we don't play them until then. Conference play begins this weekend with Rhode Island coming to the Mullins. Rhode Island has always been a huge rivalry for us and they happen to be the only team in the A-10 that we play twice in the regular season. We've been gearing everything towards getting ready for the A-10 and now it is here! Hope to see you all at the game...

Until next time...

December 18

Happy Holidays Women's Basketball Fans,

I would like to thank all of the alumnae that were able to attend Alumnae Weekend when we played Maine. It was a lot of fun spending time with them and getting to know them better. It was good that we had a chance to honor Christel Zullo. We created the Christel Zullo Spirit Award in her honor to go to the player each year that demonstrates the dedication, energy, and enthusiasm that were her trademarks. A few of the former players passed around some old media guides from back when they played...and let's just say some those hairstyles were interesting! This was only our third year of putting together this event and the responses have gotten better each year. I also have to mention that the Girl Scouts were in attendance at the Maine game as well, so thank you, our girls really appreciated their support.

Congratulations to the UMass men's soccer team who played in the NCAA College Cup semifinal last week. I tried to use them as an inspiration to our team. They were picked to finish 10th in the Atlantic 10 and look what they were able to accomplish. It doesn't matter what anyone else believes about your team, it's what you (as a team) believe, and that was the soccer team's approach to the season.

The Miami Dolphins finally won their first game of the season and coincidentally we finally got our first road win of the year at Wagner in the same weekend! I know our situation is a lot better than the Dolphins from a winning standpoint but it does feel just as good to finally get that monkey off our backs. We are at home this Saturday against Buffalo and this will be our last game before Christmas. Hopefully the kids' brains won't be too fried after their final exams!

Until next time...

December 7

Happy Holidays Women's Basketball Fans,

Is it cold enough for you outside?!?! Winter is really here and here to stay. I do love this time of the year, everyone seems to be in a better mood because of the holidays. I picked out my Christmas tree last Sunday. I go to a place where you get to cut your own tree down, which is nice. I couldn't wait to decorate it!

We continue to defend our home court, which is great, but we really need to steal some wins on the road. I thought we played a great game against Hartford last Saturday by out-rebounding them and defending their post players. That was a quality win because they are a team that will be in postseason play. We went on the road to play at St. John's Tuesday night, which did not turn out in our favor, although we did get out to a good start. We are still searching for that first win on the road and I feel once we get one it will break the ice for the kids to give them more confidence.

The good thing is our next game is at home against Maine tomorrow...so we hope to see you there!

Until next time...

November 30

Hello Women's Basketball Fans,

First I want to apologize for the delay between blogs. It has been a busy past two weeks. Our trip down to North Carolina would have been perfect if we had come home with two wins. Traveling on Thanksgiving went smoothly and the much anticipated Thanksgiving dinner at CPW's was excellent! It turned out to be a nice, private catered meal for our team at very nice country club in Greenville, NC. We never did find out what `roadfood' was...it was part of our meal.

Friday's pre-game meal was interesting. In the last blog I talked about the south not being as strict with the smoking. Well sure enough our host tried to seat us all in a smoking section for the meal and his rationale was that we could all sit together. There were very few people in restaurant at this time, so of course I expressed my displeasure and the host put us all in non-smoking.

I tell you what, it's good to be back home. It was a rough stretch for us with four games away from the Mullins. The road doesn't get easier with Hartford coming into town. Hopefully being home will help us get back on track! Hope to see you at the game!

Until next time...

November 21

Hello Women's Basketball Fans,

We got our first snowfall of the year this morning (I can't believe it!), which is always interesting walking the dogs. They like to roll around in the snow so it makes our walks a lot longer than usual.

I have to admit that Saturday's game with Northeastern stuck with me for a few days. We did not play the way we are capable of playing and when that happens it's hard to let go. I give credit to Northeastern because their kids were pumped and ready to play. Now, I think our kids know that they need to come ready to play against everyone because our opponents will. We move on now and get better and the team has responded well with solid practices the last few days.

Next we head down to North Carolina to be in East Carolina's Thanksgiving tournament. Last year we had our Thanksgiving meal on a cruise boat in Tampa Bay, Fla. - this year our meal is scheduled for the CPW Restaurant in Greenville, North Carolina - I looked at their website and learned that the theme this month at CPW's is "Roadfood." What is roadfood you might ask - roadfood cooks are described as "culinary folk artists" and the restaurants are "colorful places enjoyed by locals." My favorite local restaurant is Carmelina's so I don't know how well I will take to CPW's. I'm not a food snob, so I will go in with an open mind. It always worries me when we travel down South - I have a nose like a bloodhound when it comes to the smell of smoke and I know the regulations down South aren't as tight as they are up here. I'll be truly thankful if the restaurant is non-smoking!

Our team wishes you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Until next time...

November 15

Hello Women's Basketball Fans,

As a college basketball fan, you must have loved last night's game! It provided all the excitement you could ask for. There were 14 lead changes and nine ties - it was like an NCAA tournament game. I picked a bad night to wear my new wool sweater because things definitely heated up in Mullins. We had a doubleheader with the men (they played Yale) and hopefully we may have gained some new fans that came early to watch the men's game.

Last night was a great win for the program and for me personally. This team showed a lot of heart through the whole game. They believed in themselves and each other. When you do that, good things happen. You could see it in the players' eyes that they would not be denied. After the game the girls were so excited I could hardly hear myself speak. I don't think I've ever seen them so pumped after a win. It was nice to finally get this win after being so close a few times with BC. Mary and I have bragging rights for a year against our college teammate ☺!

We are at Northeastern on Saturday at 2 p.m. Maybe you can join us in Boston!

Until next time....

November 13

Hello Women's Basketball Fans,

Thank you so much for your support on Friday night! The crowd was really into it and helped us pull out a tough win. Vermont is a good team and will probably finish high in the America East standings, so it was a good win for us. Pam scored the 1,000th point of her career, congrats to her. She was the "glue" that held us together in this game by hitting big shots when we needed them.

One surprise for us was Stef Gerardot, who came off the bench to spark us with 10 points. She's a kid that worked hard all summer on her game and her conditioning. It's nice to see it paying off for her. Kim Benton also did a nice job off the bench. Her two three-pointers really gave us a much needed lift midway through the first half. Sakera Young hit two big free throws with four seconds on the clock to put us up by three. I'll take the win but we do need to be more consistent and understand that the game is 40 minutes.

Up next, Boston College comes to town! I played college ball with the BC coach, Cathy Inglese, at Southern Connecticut so playing against her is always tough. Cathy came out to play golf in August and let me just say that I hope her team plays basketball like she played golf that day - "fore" was the word out of her mouth much of the day ☺. Again we will need your support, so we hope to see you there!

Until next time...

November 5

Hello Women's Basketball Fans,

We've had about two weeks of practices, a scrimmage, and an exhibition game since the last entry. In the world of basketball that is in some ways not a lot of time. We as coaches always want more time ... but before I get into the basketball stuff I have to tell you this story ... On Halloween I received some strange trick or treaters to my house, four giant-size Teletubbies! It was Pam, Kate, Kim and their friend Jen (who runs track for UMass). It was the funniest thing I've seen in a long time. My assistants said that Tiema came by the office earlier in the day dressed as "Steve Urkel" but I missed her. I guess you are never too old to celebrate Halloween!

Practices have been good. Overall, the girls are understanding what we are asking of them and getting more competitive. Don't get me wrong, we do have our more challenging days, but overall I feel they are doing a good job and working extremely hard. The rookies are pushing the upperclassmen, which is great. I can't remember when we've had practices that were this competitive.

I think the kids were finally excited to play against someone else. We did well in our first scrimmage against Siena. Everyone got to play so that we could see what they could do in a game-like atmosphere. That being said, we still have a lot we need to work on. Last Friday we had an Exhibition game against Athletes in Action, which is comprised of former college players. This was a good challenge for us and I thought we had a decent showing. We scored 83 points, which is far more than we averaged last season. I do feel defensively we can and will do a better job. Thank goodness these games don't count! Now we continue to work on us and prepare for the home-opener against Vermont on Friday night. We are all really excited and hope to see you there!

Until next time...

October 16

Hello Women's Basketball Fans,

As preseason wraps up and the start of the season begins, the kids have been conditioning three times a week with our strength and conditioning coach in the mornings. I'm sure you can imagine what that's like! College students do not like to get up early for anything! The upperclassmen have been through it before but the newcomers or "rookies" as I like to call them looked like they were sleep-walking. At least I get to have a Frap or two to wake me up. Overall the team has worked hard in the preseason, which I know will continue throughout the year.

Things have been quite busy since the last blog. I've been traveling so much for recruiting that Olive and Grace (my dogs) almost forgot me. Coach Ciuk and I traveled to Canada, then it was off to Philly with one of my new assistants, Jada Pierce. The recruiting trip wrapped up with her and I in Chicago, my old stomping grounds from my days at Northwestern. Gotta love Garrett's popcorn! If you have a chance to visit Chicago you must try this popcorn.

Well, Midnight Madness was a hit with over 3,000 people in attendance. Thank you to the fans that were there to support us! The theme was "Night with the Stars" and that indeed is what it was. The girls were introduced to a spotlight on them as they came out of the crowd. Junior Stef Gerardot won the 3-point contest! It was nice to see us knock some shots down. She beat out Kate Mills, Pam Rosanio and Kim Benton. As a coach you know Midnight Madness is all about the players but I just wanted to have a regular practice. I guess I'm old school that way. I have to admit, it was funny to see a male student dress up as Britney Spears to win the Celebrity look a like contest. Students will do anything for free plane tickets!

Well, time to walk the dogs and think about what we need to do for practice today. Until next time...

September 13

Hello Women's Basketball Fans,

Hopefully you all had a happy and healthy summer. Can you believe it is the start of a new school year?! I know I can't believe it! We met with the team on Labor Day and the buzz from them was great. In fact, it was deafening....Literally, they were so loud! It was nice to see the newcomers interacting with the returnees.

This was the first time we were all together so for most of the returnees they have not seen the newcomers since they were on their official visits last year. The whole team was pumped about the upcoming season, especially the seniors. They want to go to NCAA Tournament and the returnees feel there was unfinished business from last season. They said that this was 'their time.' To have a taste of what it could be like has only made them hungrier. For me, as a coach, it's great to see. We all know that there is a huge challenge ahead but one thing for sure is that this team will rise to meet it!

Classes began the day after Labor Day and it's been busy ever since! The kids were getting adjusted to their class schedules as well as team workouts. The team workouts consists of lifting, running and individual skill work with the coaches. The weight room testing went well! The team was tested in their areas of squat, bench and hang clean. The team did very well, and Alisha, Kate and Sakera are the strongest people on the team.

I will check in with you again during the preseason to let you know how the team is doing.

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