Some say diversity makes people stronger and that’s exactly what the Keene State women’s basketball team is planning to do next season.
This past season the women’s team faced many injuries and sicknesses, but that didn’t stop them from giving their all.
Many players had to step up and that’s exactly what they did.
During their past season, they weren’t worried about their record. They focused on getting better.
Captain and senior Sandi Purcell was one of the players who suffered an injury that impacted the team.
Purcell first dislocated her shoulder during a scrimmage game against Springfield but came back to the court within a few days.
Purcell suffered a second injury right before winter break. She broke her ankle during a game against The University of Southern Maine.
Teammate and junior Emily McPadden, said, “That was a struggle, especially going into winter break knowing that we are not going to have our leading scorer come back for the rut of the conference games.”
Purcell said this meant her teammates had to step up to the plate and that’s exactly what they did.
McPadden said, “My role changed, I ended up going from a shooting guard to a forward.”
Women’s head coach Keith Boucher said this season was a bizarre one.
“We could never stay healthy. I never had a season like this before, I don’t want to have another one like this to be honest with you,” he said.
McPadden and Purcell said they always tell their teammates when a person is down then it’s another’s persons opportunity.
The freshman had taken on the challenge considering the circumstances.
Boucher, said “On a positive note, a lot of freshman got a lot of game experiences which normally wouldn’t have happened.”
First-year Jordyn Burke tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
This usually happens when there’s sudden movement on the ligaments which causes tears.
Purcell said, “We pulled the team aside and told them we need to finish strong now — we can’t let that bother us right now, we have to keep pushing ourselves,” and that’s exactly what the team did.
McPadden said they started achieving their goals, winning games towards the end.
“Yes we got bounced in the first round but I do think teams towards the end of the season had to fear us. Sandi came back and we were playing very well,” she said.
Despite these injuries, Boucher said the team kept coming into practice to work hard.
“I think as difficult as this season was it was a great experience because of the fact that they all stayed together and they worked hard as a unit and that’s what team is,” Boucher said.
She added, “You don’t give in when things don’t go your way and when things aren’t going good for you then somebody else has to pick you up and when somebody else is down then it’s your job to pick them up,” Boucher said.
The team plans on coming in full swing next season.
For the first time ever the team will be practicing with the Track and Field assistant coach Nick Athanasopoulos.
“I think we are going to be a big threat and teams aren’t going to expect us to be as good as we’re going to be,” McPadden said about the upcoming season.
The team has spring conditioning which is mandatory. Players also join summer leagues back where they’re from.
Their preseason starts the second week of September.
Adriana Sanchez can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org