The women’s basketball team is starting off the season not only with new head coach Laurie Kelly, but also a new attitude and perspective towards the game.
Head coach Kelly believes the team has gotten better with every game and is proud to have started off right during the first part of the season on the road.
Coach Kelly is expecting the team to take the conference championship win home this year. As of right now games have been going well for the team as they’ve won against the College of Saint Benedict’s by three points, as well as winning against St. Olaf College this week.
Kelly says the team does need to improve overall on shooting the ball better, getting shots up with finishing on the perimeter, and gaining some of their confidence back. With a new coach comes room to grow.
“It’s a learning curve everyday for all of us,” Coach Kelly said.
The goals Kelly has for the team this season is to get better everyday, enjoy being at practices and enjoy playing in competitions. The women’s basketball team finished second in the league last year, and this year for the seniors, Coach Kelly wants them to leave with no regrets and hopes for individual success for each of the players.
“As a new coach, I want to be a positive influence to them in their lives on and off the floor. I want to represent Gustavus Adolphus in a real positive manner and make people in our community proud of what we can do… we go to work and we’re going to become the best team we can become and let the cards fall where they may,” Kelly said.
Whitney Novak, one of the captains, feels that each game their team is improving. Novak looks forward to this season playing with her teammates for the last time, watching everyone grow and achieving the goals they have all set for themselves. Striving to win the conference championship this year as one of her personal goals, Novak said the team’s goal is to always play to the best of their ability.
Last year they made it to the championship game but lost to Saint Thomas and got second. This time Novak hopes to win and make it to the national tournament. Novak plans to be a strong leader for her teammates on and off the court and for them to look up to her.
“Every team’s dynamics are different, you learn how you can best use the qualities of each player and pull together as one and reach something as a unit, reach a common goal and that’s really cool to be a part of,” Novak said.
Kelsey Florian, another captain on the team, says the women come to practice everyday simply ready and strive to give it their all in practice.
“Work hard everyday in practice, if you just go 50% you’re not doing anything for anyone,” Florian said.
The team continues to work hard in practices to achieve their common goal. Florian says playing Mankato State was a little challenging because they’re a Division II school. They are still doing well pulling through as a team. Florian says Coach Kelly, adds good intensity and prepares their team well for their opponents.
“Having her this year was a good change,” Florian said.
Florian believes Coach Kelly brings something to the team that they needed for awhile, and says her passion for the game is nothing but positive. Florian hopes to end this season without any regrets, by playing the best she can.
“Only one team will end their season on a win,” Florian said.