The women’s basketball team is facing a particular challenge this year with low numbers on the team.
According to senior Emily McPadden, there are currently thirteen players on the basketball roster. While this issue certainly presents a lot of obstacles, McPadden said this isn’t the first time the team has dealt with it.
McPadden has played basketball since her first year at Keene State College, and had played for many years before. She said that low numbers is always a problem that can influence a team, and when it does, it can come with major challenges.
“My freshman and sophomore year we had eighteen players both years,” she said. “My junior year we had about twelve and with injuries we actually didn’t even have a full team.” McPadden is the only returning senior this year, and said that there were many reasons that players couldn’t return for another season.
“It’s for a lot of different reasons. Some people had to leave the team because of school. They had hard majors and had to make the choice. It’s definitely hard for our incoming recruits and some of them realized early, which is good, that they can’t handle both. We’ve always been about academics first and coach always talks about academics being a priority, so they could find that balance and chose the academic route.”
According to McPadden, the majority of challenges come up with positions on the court. “Challenges are definitely for position-specific players. I’ve had to play a forward just because we’ve had low numbers with injuries and everything which was definitely tough. But if definitely teaches different players how they’re ‘basketball IQ’ needs to expand once they get to college, especially with a small team. They need to know how to play multiple positions and sometimes that can be a struggle for people.”
Junior Mackenzie Bennett has played all three years in college so far, and said that there are noticeable differences in the team this year as opposed to other years.
“The chemistry is different this year. We’re all really close – we spend a lot of time together on and off the court which has made it fun because we can read each other really well,” said Bennett. “It makes for a different kind of basketball too, when you’re playing with your friends. McPadden shared similar thoughts, saying “With a smaller team it’s easier to bond with people. It also gives everyone an opportunity to play.”
Bennett said that some key players will help drive the team’s success in order to make up for the low numbers.
“We have a junior transfer Samira [Sangare]. She’s playing really well and is going to be a big presence for us rebounding and scoring,” said Bennett. “Jenny [Freedman] one of our freshman has shown a lot of potential and she’s been playing really tough. She definitely keeps the energy up and makes practice very competitive so I think she’ll be a really good defender, and she makes good decisions as a point guard. And then we have three returning players from last year’s lineup, so it’ll be really good to incorporate the new kids with us.”
The players on the team are all confident about the season, despite the challenges they face with such low numbers.
McPadden said “I think our team is doing great right now with the numbers we have. Everyone’s adjusting to their strengths and working on their weaknesses, and I think we have a shot to do really well this year. We just want to win games and work on getting better, and win that conference championship.”
Matthew Barriga can be contacted at