Women's Basketball

 

 

Marnie's Blog

 

May 16

Hello Women's Basketball Fans,

This spring has been pretty busy. Postseason workouts went really well. The team worked extremely hard both on the court and in the weight room. The players are focused on getting better and improving their individual skill sets. Coach Boyko, our strength coach, was pleased with how hard the players worked and the energy and enthusiasm they brought into the weight room. During the last week of the postseason program the team has a week of "final testing" in the weight room - this is always a spirited time with the music pumping and the cheers of encouragement a little louder as each player attempts to create new personal bests in the four tests (power cleans, squats, bench press and chin ups). In addition to our scheduled individual workouts and the lifting sessions, all of the players put in extra hours in the gym - this makes me happy! Getting better is a process and the team is showing me that they are willing to do what it takes.

We hosted our annual women's basketball banquet at the end of April. It was a nice send off for the two seniors. Stef Gerardot was recognized for her outstanding senior year by being named the recipient of each of the four awards we present annually. The awards are the Jack Leaman award which is our team MVP , the Minutewoman of the Year (the team member with the most Minutewoman of the Week honors), the Strength & Conditioning award given out by Chris Boyko and the Cristel Zullo Spirit Award which is voted on by the team.

At the end of the banquet, a member of the coaching staff presents the seniors with their framed jersey and the seniors have a chance to reflect on their careers. Kera and Stef were very impressive not only with what they wrote, but how it was delivered. Each had different styles - Stef cried for most of hers :-) and Kera held strong without shedding a tear. It has been a pleasure to coach these two young ladies and I have no doubt that they will go on to do great things.

Congratulations to all the spring sports for their accomplishments. Softball is hosting for NCAA's this weekend. Ironically they are playing Cornell, where I spent many years. The head softball coach and I are still great friends. Go UMass!

Until next time...

 

March 3

Hello UMass Fans,

Guest Blogger: Senior captain Stefanie Gerardot


I get the special privilege of writing the blog this time! I just wanted to let everyone know how much I have appreciated their support. Over the four years I have been here I have met some tremendous people, and that is something I am truly going to miss. I don't know where the time went, I still feel like I am a freshman (even though my body doesn't agree with me)! This week we are preparing for Duquesne as we head into the A-10 tournament. We have been working on defense and boxing out continuously hoping to knock of Duquesne in the first round! I also have to tell you guys how awesome my family has been throughout my four years. My parents drive through the night, through snowstorms staying up for over 48 hours at a time just to come see the games. Between them, the coaches, and my teammates I have been surrounded by great people throughout my time here, and I am really sad that it is coming to an end! Wish us luck in the tournament and tune in to the radio and support us this weekend! Thanks again for making it a great four years to play for UMass!

Stefanie Gerardot

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 11

Hello Women's Basketball Fans,

We are in the home stretch of the Atlantic 10 season with six regular season games remaining. We have Temple (Field Trip Day today at 11:45 a.m.) and Duquesne (Saturday) coming in this week. Every game counts right now toward making the conference tournament so hopefully we will come out ready to play.

Last time we were at home we played St. Louis and although the outcome was not in our favor we still had a good day. We had alumnae weekend and also the Girls Scouts were at the game. Thank you Girls Scouts for all of your support, it meant a lot to the team! The Girl Scout Troops do a great job creating posters to support our team. The alums were great too, thank you for coming back and spending time with our players. I know our players learned from watching. Communication on the court is a critical component of the game of basketball. Our alumnae group exhibited this skill perfectly! Maybe the lack of speed and creaky knees necessitated more talking, but it was good for my coaching ears to hear. It was also nice listening to the stories from `back in the day' about how life was in Amherst. Our current players enjoyed interacting with the alums and a few commented on how some of the alums still `got game' while watching them play.

Hope to see you at our remaining home games this month!

Until next time...

WISH US LUCK!!!

 

 

January 6

Hello UMass Fans,

Guest Blogger: Senior Sakera Young


Hope you all enjoyed the holidays!! For Christmas, the team finally had a chance to go home for the first time since October. Although we were only able to spend about five days home, this time was much appreciated. Back home in New Jersey, I had Christmas dinner at my great grandmother's house. The best thing about Christmas wasn't the gifts, it was being able to eat a good home cooked meal. Throughout the five days at home, there was no such thing as a day off. I had to run off the turkey, ham, macaroni and cheese, yams and the many plates of broccoli and carrots that I enjoyed eating. Running and maintaining our level of fitness is the responsibility we share as being a part of the team. As a senior, I know and understand the value of keeping this commitment. By not running and working on our game, it would set the team back.

After the Christmas break, we fell short in our game against Seton Hall. We showed a lot of heart and pride with our second half comeback. However, coming out flat in the first half was our major fault that resulted in the loss. Unfortunately we are currently in a three game losing streak (losing also to BU and BC).

Instead of hanging our heads and feeling sorry for ourselves, we are learning from our mistakes. As a team, we diligently watch film and talk about what we need to improve on. This allows us to learn together and consequently get back to the positive side of winning ball games.

I attended a summer camp my sophomore year, it was called the Point Guard College. The program recommended that we all read the book, Stuff Good Players Should Know by Dick DeVenzio (founder of the Point Guard College). Mr. DeVenzio was an All-ACC selection and a First Team Academic All-American at Duke University. He went on to play and coach professionally overseas. He also is in the Basketball Hall of Fame and is quoted to be a gifted writer and a basketball genius. In his book there are two sections that I can relate to the team. The first concept is about consistency. Our team has struggled with this as you all can see throughout some of our games. There are games where we win by a large margin: games versus Northeastern and New Hampshire. Then we have games that we lost by a large margin: games versus Vermont, Minnesota, and Boston College. On paper, there are also games where we should have won and games we should have lost. With all that being said, consistency is obviously an issue. What Dick DeVenzio says about consistency is this: "There is probably only one way to cross that tiny little thread and get on the winning side. Be consistent. Develop a ridiculous attention to detail, to doing things right, to make every practice count, to concentrating on every shot. It is not easy to be consistent. Because that's what "good" is." As student-athletes we must be smart and understand that all of the little things count.

The other concept is about a players' reaction to losing. The first thing we must do is THINK. We must ask ourselves: Did I give my best physical effort? Was I tuned into the game mentally? What things could I have done better? Etc.. We must not point the finger and blame others. Mr. DeVenzio says, "Good players think. Especially after a loss. That's how they learn not to lose very often."

We are all good players and together we make a great team. We have great talent in each player. By us being students of the game and taking ownership for our own mistakes, we are making a positive step into a promising future in the A-10 conference.

Before we start A-10 play this weekend at Fordham, we have one last non-conference game against NJIT tomorrow night at 7 p.m. Hope to see you there!

WISH US LUCK!!!!

GO UMASS!!!

 

 

December 26

Hello Women's Basketball Fans,

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!! This is truly my favorite time of the year. My tree has been up since we got back from our Thanksgiving trip to Colorado. I couldn't wait to get back to pick out a tree and then decorate it. I think Olive and Grace love it more than I do!

The kids are in the midst of a five-day break, which I'm sure they are very happy about. We went into Christmas on a good note having won our last game vs. Northeastern. The game before you leave for break is always scary because you don't want the kids to have "one foot out the door". A few of them just finished their finals on the day of the game, which was a little crazy because of the snowstorm that we got on Friday afternoon (Old man winter is here!). School cancelled all but one final on Friday, so two of our players took exams the morning of the game. I always tell them to be "in the moment"...meaning focus on what's going on in the present not in the past or what may happen in the future. I'm pleased that they were focused from the beginning to end.

Enjoy whatever time you have off to spend with your family and friends! We have Seton Hall coming to town on Monday the 29th with an early mid-day tip-off at 1 p.m. Hope to see you there!

WISH US LUCK AND GO UMASS!!!

 

December 2

Hello Women's Basketball Fans,

Happy Holidays and I hope you had a good Thanksgiving. We had a really great trip out to Colorado to play in the Coors Classic. This was the program's first trip to the state of Colorado, giving our team an opportunity to see a different part of the country and the team took full advantage by taking lots of pictures. The only time Teya and Cerie put their cameras down was for the game. Colorado is a beautiful part of the country that I do recommend you see if you have not done so already. However, it does take awhile to get out there, so be armed with a lot of reading materials to keep you busy ☺.

When people talk about Colorado, the first thing they mention isn't the snow, but the altitude difference. We practiced on Thanksgiving Day out there and the kids were a little gassed early on. Fortunately for us, it seemed to have no affect in Friday's game vs. Colorado. I think I was more affected by the two-hour time difference...I was up pretty early everyday we were there.

While a few of us were out doing a little holiday shopping during some down time, we ran into a UMass alumnae and her family. She saw us with our highly visible UMass travel suits on and came right up to us saying how she graduated from UMass and that she loved her experience. I invited them to come watch us play that night and they came to cheer us on.

I think our young group is starting to form an identity. We had a few challenges on this trip, one of which was playing the host school first, Colorado, in its tournament. We got out to a good start and sustained a certain level of play throughout, which I was pleased with. In both games the team played with a lot of heart, determination and grit! Minnesota is a tough team and I know we learned a lot from that game. Up next is Providence tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at the Mullins Center. Hope to see you there!

Until next time...

WISH US LUCK!!!

 

November 13

Hello Women's Basketball Fans,

Let the games begin! We start the season on the road at Vermont tomorrow night in what should be a very good test for our young group. It will be a playoff atmosphere at Patrick Gymnasium. It is similar to playing at the Cage with a great crowd. We beat the Catamounts last year at our place so we know they will be coming at us hard. I'm anxious to get underway and, if our scrimmage and exhibition games are any indication, this team will rise to the challenge.

Not only have we been hard at work preparing for the season, but we have also embarked on some community service projects. Head women's lacrosse coach Alexis Venechanos and her team were involved last with an organization called Friends of Jaclyn. This organization matches up children that have brain tumors with collegiate teams. There are about 50 different teams to date that are participating. Our team adopted a child with a brain tumor and her name is Charlotte. Charlotte's parents are proud UMass alums and we met her for the first time on Homecoming weekend in October. All I can say is "what an amazing kid!" She has been through a lot in only four years of life. Charlotte has given all of us a new outlook. We are excited about the relationship with her and her family. If you come to the home opener on Sunday, Nov. 16, vs. Manhattan at 2 p.m., Charlotte will be there cheering from our bench.

Our other community service project involved raking leaves at a few homes in Amherst. Through a partnership with the Senior Center of Amherst we were given the names of four people who needed a little help with tackling the leaves in their yard. Kim Benton was in my group and at one point she had to lay on the ground she was so tired ☺. It was a good experience reaching out to the Amherst community and I think we gained a few more fans!

Until next time...

WISH US LUCK!!!

For more information about the Friends of Jaclyn check out the website at http://www.friendsofjaclyn.org .

October 23

Guest Blogger: Freshman Alesia Howard


Hello UMass Women's Basketball Fans,

I am Alesia Howard, a freshman from Columbus, Ohio. I am extremely excited for this upcoming season because the preparation has been everything but easy and I know that our hard work will soon pay off. When I first got to campus for summer school, I had no idea about what was going to happen. Lifting and conditioning with Coach Boyko was tough at first as well as a bit different from high school, but I survived and I am grateful. Without those intense workouts, there would be no way I could walk, let alone run, up and down the floor during one of our practices. Although the summer was difficult, I was convinced that coming back for the fall would not be as hard. I was wrong! Now that the season is almost here, I realize why our coaches pushed us so hard throughout preseason.

Last Friday was my first Midnight Madness event and my first taste of this cold Massachusetts weather. Even though I had to wear my coat, it was an exciting night for me because not only was I able to watch my teammates along with the guys compete in a three-point contest, but also cheer one of my fellow freshmen to victory. Congrats D-Money (Kristina Danella) and Luke (Luke Bonner)! I look forward to my next three years of Midnight Madness events. Hopefully I will be competing in the three-point contest in the years to come.

It is the first full week of practice and now that my nerves are out, I am ready to contribute to the promising season ahead of us. With our first game only weeks away and a new offense in the making, practices have been intense. Our coaches continue to remind us that we are a small team this year, but I am convinced "big things come in small packages." So UMass fans, if you're ready, we're ready to have an awesome season with the support of you all. Who knows, I might throw down a few dunks this season :)

Wish us luck!

Go UMass!!

October 15

Hello Women's Basketball Fans,

I feel like the time flew by! We are wrapping up pre-season workouts this week and we've seen a lot of improvement since we started in early September. The players have done what we've asked them to do and have worked extremely hard.

The team did a great job of hosting the recruits that came for official visits during the month of September. There was a scavenger hunt, bowling, backyard football, Mary's favorite - "hillbilly horseshoes" and lots of wings from the Hangar. It's hard to believe that official practice begins at the end of the week, but I am happy to finally get going. This young group has a lot to learn!

Just as school was about to start up one of my dogs, Olive, wasn't doing too well. If any of you are like me with your pets, then you know how much it hurts to see them in pain. My staff often teases me because I treat Olive and Grace as if they were people. As humans we can say what is wrong with us and pets cannot, so its tough sometimes to figure out what is wrong with them. Thankfully Olive is doing a lot better now and still enjoys walking me around ☺ and playing with Grace.

Midnight Madness is this Friday at 7PM (that's when I like my midnight ☺) and I hope you can make it out to get a sneak preview of the team. The girls are excited because this year they each get to pick a song to run out to when they are introduced. My guess is we won't be hearing any James Taylor (my favorite) music by anyone...HA!

Until next time...

WISH US LUCK!!!

September 5

Hello Women's Basketball Fans,

We are in full swing here at UMass. The campus is all a buzz. I'm not quite sure if I'm ready for the traffic to increase as well as the lines at the grocery store...but it's here!

We had a team meeting on Monday after everyone had moved in over the weekend. Our team very young this year...having only four upperclassmen (Kera, Stef, Tiema and Kim), which should be interesting. Our staff is very excited for the season and so are the players. The young players are showing good signs so far of wanting to work hard and get after it. We still need to have a lot of patience with this group and I don't need anymore grey hair ☺.

So far the kids have done a few tests in the weight room and the `dreaded' shuttle run. The shuttle run consists of five down and backs on the court and it has to be in 1 minute, 5 seconds. They have to do three of them in that time to pass. There are a few more tests in the weight room today and tomorrow, as well as one more running test and then we really get into it.

Throughout the year I will have a few guest blogs from the players so they can share their point of view of the goings on with our program. I will check in with you in a few weeks to let you know how pre-season is progressing.

Until next time...

August 11

Hello Women's Basketball Fans,

I hope you all are doing well. Wow time flies when you are trying to prepare for the next season. Since the season ended we as a coaching staff as well as the players have been very busy. It was really tough saying good-bye to the seniors ☹.

Some bright spots were that Kate made the Atlantic 10 Second Team and Pam was named Honorable Mention. We were very happy for both of them, although it would have been nice to prolong all the seniors' careers. Three of the four seniors did decide however to join the track team for their last two months of school. Kate threw the discus while Pam ran middle distance and Alisha sprinted. In Alisha's first track meet she set records for the 100 meter and 200 meter dashes in our home track facility. Who knew Alisha could be like Flo Jo...HA! As for Pam, all I can say is she runs like a full back out there. Kate did a nice job throwing the discus considering she hadn't done it before.

While all that was going on with the seniors, the returning players got some time off but then it was back to business with getting ready for the 2008-2009 season.

Right now the incoming freshmen, which consist of Emilie Teuscher, Kristina Danella and Alesia Howard, a few of the rising sophomores (Teya Wright, Cerie Mosgrove and Val Avebe) and transfer Megan Zullo are on campus taking classes and working out with our strength and conditioning coach. The freshmen were in for a rude awakening by not being used to the physical demands but seem to be more settled now.

I will check back in with you all after everyone gets on campus. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

 

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