As the 2016-17 women’s basketball season approaches, the team looks to move on after losing its star player to graduation. With the loss of forward Brittany Snow, the team’s top scorer last season, head coach Caroline McCombs now believes that her squad’s biggest strength is its backcourt.
“I think that our strength is in our backcourt right now,” McCombs said. “We’ll play a little bit different. It’s as good as it’s ever been since I’ve been the head coach here, so we’re really looking for our guards to play a lot more with the ball in our hands. So I’m excited about making that transition in our offense and defensively we’re going to have to be really scrappy and fight hard, just like we always have.”
Senior guards Christa Scognamiglio, the team’s top-returning scorer, and Kori Bayne-Walker will lead a restructured, tempo driven offense.
“The pace, our energy and our competitiveness,” Bayne-Walker listed as her team’s biggest offseason focuses. “The whole summer we were just really going after it with each other and competing really hard.”
Junior guard Lauren Williams was redshirted last season due to a foot injury, but McCombs already believes that she will add depth to an already deep cast of guards.
“The one player that we had sitting out redshirted last year was [Williams],” McCombs said. “And she’s done a great job for us. She’s anxious to get back into uniform and get on the floor and compete again, so there’s another perimeter player for us that we feel like is working hard and she’ll be a surprise on the court.”
Since the Seawolves are without a clearcut superstar, expect scoring to be more evenly distributed than in previous years.
“I think everybody steps up to the challenge and is ready and willing to do whatever it takes to win,” Williams said about her team. “There are a lot of different players on this team that can have a good game at any given point.”
Bayne-Walker reiterated Williams’ point.
“We all need to play aggressive,” Bayne-Walker said. “Like [Williams] said, at any given point, any of us could have a good game, so kind of all of us having the mindset to attack and be ready to shoot.”
Looking to play faster, McCombs is excited for the opportunity to test drive her more guard-oriented game plan.
“I think it will be our aggressiveness and our attacking mentality; I think it’s our guard play,” McCombs about her team’s strengths. “And I’m excited about that because we just haven’t had that in the past. I’m mean we’ve had some senior guards and we’ve put the ball in their hands, but no to the extent that we’re working on with them right now.”
While being excited about running the game through the guards however, coach McCombs knows the task won’t be easy. In fact, it will be a whole new game plan for many players.
“We really look to do some different things from an offensive standpoint,” McCombs said of the challenges.
“Some of those things are new to our team, so they’re new to our seniors who are veterans. So really just trying to put in a different system than we’ve had in the past. I’m excited to see what that looks like. We haven’t played anyone yet, so it’s hard to tell at this point in time. We have a couple scout team guys now, which is nice, so they don’t know everything that we’re doing. We’ll have some scrimmages before our home opener and just excited about getting better every day.”
The Seawolves open their season away at Iona Gaels on Nov. 11 at 7 p.m.. Their first home game will take place three days later as they take on the Hofstra Pride in the Island Federal Credit Union Arena on Nov. 14 at 7 p.m..