By Annie Erickson
The upcoming season is the beginning of a new chapter for the women’s basketball program at Lewis & Clark. The team has a new head coach with an innovative coaching style and plenty of positive energy. They also have a perfect blend of experienced seniors and fresh newcomers dedicated to having a successful season and constructing a promising program.
The women’s team finished the previous season 14-12 with a 9-7 conference record. Since the 3-22 record of the 2015-16 season, the team has drastically improved. This year’s team is looking to continue the upward trend, and hiring Kristina Williams as head coach seems like a promising step in that direction.
Williams ’13, an LC alumni, was an assistant coach for the team last year. During her time as a student she also played for the basketball team, leading them to a Northwest Conference championship her senior year. She was the Northwest Conference player of the year and an All-American.
Under her instruction, the team has begun the season inspired and ready to work.
“I believe everyone in the program is excited to start playing games and putting all our work into play,” Williams said in an email.
Sara Brogman ’19 is excited about what Williams brings to the table.
“She (Williams) is creating a new program with the team that we have and I think she has been very successful so far,” Brogman said via email. “I am excited to see what this season brings.”
This year’s team is made up of eight freshmen, one sophomore, and five seniors. This unique combination gives the team strong leadership and fresh energy.
“For all five of us seniors, it is very important that we make sure all the freshman are feeling comfortable and confident on the court,” Brogman said. “We are always willing to help them understand and execute the plays or any drills we are running. We’re also always checking in on them, making sure school and life is going good!”
Williams has been pleased with what both returning players and newcomers have brought to the team so far.
“Our seniors and sophomores are doing a great job thus far of being role models for our freshmen,” Williams said. “The freshmen have brought a contagious energy and sense of motivation to our program. Day in and day out they are working their hardest in practice, and they are clearly motivated to help our program be as successful as possible.”
This hard work started at the beginning of the school year when players got into the weight room, participated in conditioning workouts, and scrimmaged in open gyms. Traditionally, coaches are not allowed to officially interact with the team as per NCAA rules prior to the season. However, this year the team participated in a foreign tour of preseason games in Canada so the coaches were allowed to have 10 practices to prepare. The focus of these practices was to implement a playing style with a heightened pace.
“We plan to play at a fast tempo in the full-court on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball,” Williams said. “This style of play has been so much fun to coach so far.”
During these practices, Williams gave out the Respect, Attitude and Accountability, Resilience, and Enjoy (RARE) award every week to help engender the key values they are focusing on this year. The award was given to the player that best embodies these values.
Delsie Johnson ’22, a new team member won the award early in the season for her positive attitude.
“I think that allowed us to start strong,” Johnson said.
The team played in four exhibition games in Canada and most recently a preseason game against Portland State.
“The trip was a great opportunity for our freshman to compete at the collegiate level for the first time in a low stress situation,” William said.
Overall, the preseason games served an educational purpose and acted as an opportunity to practice before the team’s first official game against Evergreen State this Friday, Nov. 16 at home.