As the Dalhousie University women’s basketball team heads into the new season, it will be one of much-wanted improvement after posting a record of no wins and 13 losses last season.
Kelsey Crocker, a forward in her final year of eligibility but in her first season as a Tiger, said the team’s play will be elevated once they see their potential.
“I think we’re really starting to believe that we aren’t going to have the same season as we did last year,” she said.
Crocker is the only player on the Tigers who has played more than two years of eligibility, putting her into a leadership role of sorts. She played for the Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU) Mystics of the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association previously, leading the league in scoring last season.
“I have the most experience from a different team. But I think I can bring in some experience and leadership that I’ve gained over my last four years of playing university ball. [I can] be a calming force for everyone and someone everyone can look up to,” said Crocker.
Carrying the torch
Anna Parsons, a second-year forward, said Crocker brings a greater level of experience and knowledge to the Tigers. Second-year guard Emma Ward agrees Crocker’s level of maturity is something a lot of the team can use.
“As our coaches [said], we agree that she really is our rock. She’s very calm when she’s on the floor, but she knows how to execute and that’s something that we can all count on and use as motivation to get to that point as well,” said Ward.
Crocker averaged 19.2 points per game with MSVU in 2021-2022, making 52.1 per cent of her shots.
“When games get tight, and I’ve been in those situations, I want to be someone that they can lean on and trust. I’ve been through it and I know all of them can do it too,” Crocker said. “I want to be that calming voice and person that they can be like, ‘okay, now this is possible.’ And if it has to start with me, then I’m here for it.”
Dal had the lowest points-per-game average in Atlantic University Sport (AUS) basketball last season. This preseason, it was an encouraging sign for Dal to see several of its players score double-digit points in different games. The Tigers struggled as a young team last season, but Crocker said there are also advantages to having a youth influx.
“We would have younger legs and fresher bodies. I think we will have to utilize our speed a bit more and I think that’s how we’re going to get some teams,” said Crocker.
Dal recorded a win and three losses during the preseason, including a game against the 2021-2022 U SPORTS champions the Toronto Metropolitan University Bold. Crocker said she liked what she saw from the team in preseason.
“We’re all here for one another,” she said.
One of Parson’s takeaways from the preseason is the level of physicality Dal needs to bring into the regular season.
“We definitely have a lot of young players who haven’t been exposed to how physical the U SPORTS league is,” said Parsons. “The more games we play, the more we’ll be exposed to getting more physical and aggressive. Once we secure that, I think we’re going to be pretty successful.”
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