The Lehigh women’s basketball team has started off this season with a record of six wins and one loss.
The team is starting off strong despite losing Frannie Hottinger and Mackenzie Kramer, their two leading scorers last season.
“We’ve had some new pieces, two transfers and (first-years), that all fit in really well both on and off the court,” said senior Maddie Albrecht.
Junior Remi Sisselman is a transfer from Bucknell, where she started in eight games during her two years there. Junior Colleen McQuillen transferred from Fordham after appearing in 41 games.
Both transfers have started all of the first six games for the Mountain Hawks, with McQuillen averaging the third most points on the team with 10.2.
“(McQuillen) replaced our natural point guard position, and she’s super awesome,” said junior Ella Stemmer. “She blends right in in terms of pushing the ball really fast, and she has a great IQ for the game.”
Stemmer said McQuillen is more versatile and blends in well with the team at the “big guard” position, where she said she gets rebounds and plays closer to the basket.
In addition to the transfers, the team added four first-years to the roster.
“They come into practice ready to play every day,” said coach Addie Micir. “They bring the noise, they bring juice and they bring a fresh skill set to the offense. They really blended well with our returners.”
Stemmer said the new players are always finding ways to build relationships with their teammates, even with something as simple as finding rides to practice. She said the team is motivated which helps them bond.
To build the team culture, the team held pumpkin decorating, movie nights, dip nights and hosted a book exchange over the summer.
“We really enjoy spending time with each other, which I think has helped and translated onto the court. I would say that’s a little bit different from last year,” Albrecht said.
This is Micir’s second season as head coach of the Lehigh women’s basketball team, and she said there have been changes and transitions along the way.
“Our staff has a full year under our belt,” Micir said. “We know what our strengths are as a staff and what each individual brings, and we’re really leaning into it.”
She said she thinks the team has been “clicking and challenging each other,” improving the culture of the program.
After a five-game winning streak, the team finally faced a loss on Nov. 23 in Savannah against Bowling Green.
Stemmer said the team needed the loss so they could learn to come back from it and deal with adversity during the games. Albrecht said the loss provided an opportunity to learn from the mistakes that were made but not dwell on them or slow down their momentum.
“I think for all of us as a team, a lot of it really is focusing on having fun together, focusing on controlling what I can control and working hard,” Albrecht said.
Micir hopes to see improvement in the motion offense this season. He said it takes time for the players to figure each other out and learn to work seamlessly together.
“Any given night, anybody can score, and we pride ourselves on sharing it and shooting it,” Micir said. “That’s what we’ve been able to do.”