The women’s basketball team, who were NJAC (New Jersey Athletic Conference) Champions last season, were sidelined this year after Rowan University announced the cancellation of winter sports.
Although they will not have the opportunity to participate in the season, the women’s basketball team is focused on improving their game and staying focused on next year.
The team was led by five captains this season, Alexis Kriley, Juliette Tobin, Grace Marshall, Ayanna Johnson and Kennedy Brown, with the latter three being juniors. The Profs will use their experience to their advantage next season, as well as using the talents of Brown, Marshall and Johnson to lead the team.
Marshall, who was also a captain as a sophomore, averaged 12.6 points last season, provided some insight on her experience last year as a captain.
“I just know how to talk to the girls and make sure that everything on the team is going well,” Marshall said. “But like I said as the same thing for last year, I was able to easily become a leader because the girls on my team are just so supportive.”
Her experience on the court and as a leader has helped her to face the uncertainty of the season. Even after hearing the news that they would not be able to compete for a title again this season, Marshall has kept a positive mindset and continued to lead her team.
Thanks to the positivity and support from her coaches, Marshall and her teammates are able to come to practice everyday and prepare for next season.
“Coach Mandy [Jiang] would tell us that it’s not easy to go into practice everyday knowing that we’re not preparing for games this season,” Marshall said. “But just to know that we’re here together, it brings our spirits up.”
Marshall also talked about her passion for the game of basketball which motivates her everyday.
“I love playing,” Marshall said. “I’ve been in love with playing basketball since I first started, so that definitely keeps my spirits high going to practice three days a week now.”
Although the team is disappointed with the outcome of the season, they are looking to move forward and prepare themselves for next season.
Marshall reiterated the importance of being there for her teammates.
“We are all upset that the season was cancelled,” Marshall said. “But we know that we have to be strong, be prepared and be there for each other.”
The team has been slowly getting into game-like situations during practices and thrives on self-motivation with all of the obstacles that they have faced this season.
“We need a lot of self motivation right now because we don’t have all of our coaches there; we don’t have the motivation from the big games and our fans being there,” Marshall said. “So, it comes from us and within our team.”
As a junior captain leading her team in these difficult times, she focuses on remaining positive and reminding her teammates that they are all there for one another.
“I just tell them, don’t worry about the mistakes, just keep going because we have your back, like your teammates are here,” Marshall said. “If you turn the ball over, we’re all running back on defense, so things like that, just a lot about being a team, sticking together and doing your best.”
This past year is far from what any of these players had expected. But with the determination and skills of these women, they are looking forward to competing for an NJAC title next season.
“We have to get out of our comfort zone so that we can move on to the next level,” Marshall said.
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