After hard work in off-season and practices, women’s basketball eager to improve record

Junior forward KristieAnn DeSilvio. Picture by Norwich University

New season, new team, and new goals. The Norwich Women’s basketball team began their new season on October 15. Although last season didn’t have the outcome they had hoped for, losing to the Emmanuel College Saints in the quarterfinals of last years’ GNAC tournament and finishing with a 10-16 record, the Cadets women’s basketball team hopes to have a successful season this winter in the GNAC conference.
With the addition of five freshmen and the experience of the 12 veteran ballplayers already on the team, Norwich women’s basketball team is working hard to achieve many of their season goals. While the official start of the season was Oct. 15, the ladies have worked incredibly hard in the off-seasons, both during the summer and fall. The team has used assigned summer workouts, as well as preseason fall pick-up games and lifting programs, to prepare for the schedule ahead and improve results since the end of last season.

Players said the upperclassmen will be key to having underclassmen prepared for the season. Getting on the court four times a week as a team during preseason, in addition to their lifting with the strength and conditioning coach, has prepared this team to be stronger and more conditioned than in previous years.
Guard Riley Bennet, a 5-6 sophomore health science major from Hopkinton, N.H., is excited about the team’s prospects. “This upcoming season holds a lot of promise as well as potential. The five newcomers have adapted to our style as a program with ease, while maintaining their individual player identity.”
Bennet said the team hopes to use its speed to advantage. “With a smaller lineup we have already demonstrated how we can run teams and slow them down when needed. The 2018-19 season is one that will define Norwich women’s basketball and build off the foundation that had previously been put down.”
After only seven official practices, the team had its first scrimmage against an improved Southern Vermont squad. Although it took the Cadets a few minutes to get warmed up, once they got in the flow the change in momentum, as well as the team’s potential, was visible.
KristieAnn DeSilvio, a junior criminal justice major from Chelmsford, Mass., said the opportunity to play an opponent showed promise.
“This scrimmage really showed how much this new team is capable of when we work together. This was the first time we played 5 on 5 competitive play with the season just starting, so it was nice to have live play and put all the pieces together we’ve been working on in practice,” said the 5-11 forward. “Defensively I think we displayed how hard we’ve been working and focusing to defend against other offenses. I’m excited to grow as a player and to see where this season will take us.”
Jenna Alexander, a senior accounting major from Castleton, Vt. who plays forward, showed her eagerness for the upcoming season. “The season is starting off really well for our team, and our team is meshing well, as can be seen from the scrimmage.” She added that although some key players were lost from the team last year, “both upperclassmen and freshman seem to be prepared to step up in order to have a successful team this year.”
“Dedication and motivation are at an all-time high for our women›s basketball team. We are working well together and really enjoying playing.”
The ladies are preparing for a long and exhausting season as they play until around the last week of February. Sara Bradley a returning junior criminal justice major from Sunnyside, N.Y., explained that the team has high hopes for the new freshmen filling in for last year’s class.
“Obviously losing Shyann Josler and Ari Harrison, our senior captains last year, is going to be an obstacle since they were our leading scorers last year. However, this forces other people on our team to step up and put points on the board,” she said. A 5-8 guard, she said, “This year I believe we have the most cohesive group; I feel that all upperclassmen are on the same page about what goals we have and that makes it easier for freshman to follow, they have been really good at picking up how we play.”

Sophomore guard Riley Bennet. Picture by Norwich University.

One thing many players on the team say is that the way they play basketball at Norwich is much different than they have played anywhere else, as they focus on the important parts of the game that not all teams catch on to. The ladies often quote their coach when he says “Do the small things right to make the big things happen.”
The team has adopted a motto that they desire to take every play, and possession, one at a time in order to focus on the little things to hopefully win every game.
Norwich will once again have the opportunity to play a very talented Division I team when they will take on the University of Vermont Catamounts on Nov. 15 in an away game. Although the Catamounts outmatch the Cadets in size, Norwich is hoping their discipline and patience could be just what they need to make some history and upset the Division I team.
Julia Vigorito, a sophomore who plays guard and hails from Malden, Mass., said “I think the UVM game is going to be a representation of where our team stands, competition wise. I also think it is a great opportunity for us to play a team out of our division and out of our comfort zone, to see where we line up and where we can improve on. I am really excited to see where we can go this year!”
The Norwich Cadets women feel they have potential, now they are excited to see what they can do with it. As the first official game approaches on Nov. 10, the Cadets are ready. Their key goal, which they share with most GNAC teams, is to obtain that GNAC champion title. With the excitement surrounding this experienced team, it will be an interesting season to watch.
The women will take on Plattsburgh State in their first game on Saturday, Nov. 10 at 1 p.m. and then return for their home opener on Tuesday Nov. 13 at 5:30 p.m. against New England College.

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