Four members of the women's basketball team chase after the ball in a drill at their practice Nov. 1, 2016. The Mountain Hawks lost 59-37 to Villanova on Monday night on the road. (Isabel Standbridge/B&W Staff)

Ready for tipoff: The Lehigh’s women’s basketball team looks forward to season


When the women’s basketball team graduated five players last year, the players and coaches didn’t see it as a disadvantage. Instead, they saw it as an opportunity for change.

Last spring, the players and coaches decided to restructure the team’s culture. Everybody decided the hierarchical system that controlled the team’s environment could no longer exist.

The team created a standard that would reflect what it wanted Lehigh women’s basketball to stand for and help develop a culture that encourages the team to strive for excellence in both basketball and in life, senior Kiernan McCloskey, who is returning from an injury, said.

Eight of the team’s 15 players, which includes five freshmen, didn’t play last season, so coach Sue Troyan saw the need to “embrace the youth of the team” this season.

“We saw an opportunity to change culture and kind of a necessity to change culture because we’re going to be a lot younger,” Troyan said. “We need to allow the freshmen to be able to come in and excel and help us because they’re going to be a big part of what we do and how we do it.”

Junior Taylor Campbell said no one has had to go out of their way to embrace this new team culture. She said everyone is being themselves and recognizes that no one should be treated differently based on what class they are in.

The starters who graduated last year made up about 80 percent of the team’s playing time last season. Troyan said she sees this as an exciting opportunity for her players, and with the new team culture, any player, no matter what age or experience level, should be able to step up and into those positions.

And what the Mountain Hawks may lack in experience, they plan to make up for it with their roster’s depth.

Both Troyan and junior starter Quinci Mann say depth and versatility are currently the team’s two greatest strengths.

Campbell also sees the team’s new depth bringing success this season.

“I think that it will be beneficial this year just because so many people can contribute in different ways,” Campbell said. “Everybody is good at something, so depending on who we’re playing, matchups will be different every game.”

Only three players started every game last year, and the only one of those three that remains is Mann. Troyan said the team’s depth will allow some pressure to be taken off her.

“Those three core players had to do 90 percent of the work, and I think that took a toll on us,” Mann said. “I was really worn out by the end of (last) season, and I think that this season we’ll have a lot more pieces to rely on so come March we’re just as fresh as we are now.”

Although not required, 12 of the team’s 15 players chose to spend the second half of this summer at Lehigh’s training. Troyan said since the new freshmen were able to be there, this time allowed the players to not only work on their skills but also start the team’s cultural shift.

She said the upperclassmen have done well with embracing the freshmen, something that hasn’t been seen much in the program’s past.

“At times, freshmen are kind of pushed aside . . . the ‘wait your turn’ mentality,” Troyan said. “We can’t have anybody waiting their turn. We need people stepping up and our upperclassmen have done a really good job of allowing them to step in and be successful.”

McCloskey said this year’s team is a group that truly cares about each other, both on a basketball level and a personal level. The team has only played one scrimmage, but she said she sees the team’s energy translating onto the court.

The Mountain Hawks will play their first game of the season Nov. 11 against East Stroudsburg University. Lehigh was picked to finish second in the Patriot League in the preseason polls. While lineups and rotations are not set, Troyan looks at this positively, seeing a competitive edge that the team hasn’t had before.

“I’m a big believer that competition is a great thing, so there’s a lot of competition at every position,” Troyan said. “I think that will help us. “

Comment policy

Comments posted to The Brown and White website are reviewed by a moderator before being approved. Incendiary speech or harassing language, including comments targeted at individuals, may be deemed unacceptable and not published. Spam and other soliciting will also be declined.

The Brown and White also reserves the right to not publish entirely anonymous comments.

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Stages continue to be set | Women's Hoops World

Leave A Reply