Pacer's Basketball Team Beating the Odds

WPU female basketball player dribbles across court

By Breanna Cary

The William Peace University Women’s Basketball team has shown the USA South Conference they are a force to be reckoned with. After getting a new coach just days before the season began and starting out near the bottom, they’re now tied for third place in the conference. 

At the beginning of the fall season, the girls had no coach, and therefore had to hold themselves all accountable and push one another like a coach would do. The team did not officially get a coach until Oct. 1 and their season began Oct. 15.   And many difficulties came with not having a coach.

“Not having a college coach was BEYOND scary,” said sophomore Hannah Erickson. “We lost many, many players in the fall season, but it has only helped us. We struggled with the “team connection” to say the least. It took us a good month for us to become a little bit of a family and it has only been a stronger connection from there.”

Going into a new season each year has its own challenges, but going into a season having only met your coach a few days prior makes the start of a season even harder.  Coach Smith and Coach Yohn were not going to let the preseason ranking of second to last determine how their season went for them.

“From day one we knew we had a lot of talent and we knew those girls could prove a lot of people wrong as long as they worked hard,” stated Coach Yohn.

After their first practice with Coach Smith, the girls saw how hard they were going to have to work and learned they were going to be held to a high standard. All the girls have shown how much work they put into practice and how much dedication they have to the team. 

They have had so much success and gotten where they are because they have put a lot of trust in their coaches and have done a great job of applying what they are taught in practice into games. Sometimes people have a hard time adjusting to a coach’s style or adjusting to the new ways of doing things.

“It did not take me that long to get used to her coaching style, but the one thing I had to get used to was how much she loves details,” said sophomore Susannah Skyes.

Skyes also said the reason they are able to carry the things they work on in practice to games is because the team does not move on in practice until what they are working on is perfect. Because coach Smith wants them to be perfect, she said, if they do not do one thing right, they go to the baseline and run, but makes them all better in the end.

Running in practice keeps the players in shape and makes sure the girls are able to get from one side of the court to the other quicker than the other team. The team has many quick players, because of that the one of Coach Smith’s strategies going into the season was to use speed, since they lack height in some areas.

This team has had one heck of a season. They have had to bond with one another, two new coaches, adapt to coaching styles, and work harder to prove everyone wrong. Preseason rankings are just a number and can push a team to be better than ever before.

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