Tough start, high hopes

W Basketball Feature, Anthony DellamuraAnthony Dellamura | Marlin Chronicle

 By Madison Carroll
With the beginning of their season in full swing, the Virginia Wesleyan Women’s Basketball team has faced some tough competition. Holding a current record of 2-3 and 1-0 within the ODAC conference, the Marlins have battled hard on the court to compete against their opponents.
Starting their season with a close loss to Widener 64-62, the Marlins could have let this set the tone for the games that followed. Instead, the team showed up the following day with a massive win over York College 77-39. The next week, VWC fell just short against Salisbury, but once again, responded to the loss with a win in the following game against Washington and Lee, seizing their first conference win.
The Marlins have been using the losses as an opportunity to learn from their mistakes early on in the season. Senior Kerri-Leanne Taylor feels that it is only a matter of time before the Marlins reach their full potential this season.
“We’ve had an inconsistent start to the season, but with so many newcomers and people returning from injury, it’s going to take time for us to come together and play our best,” Taylor said. “We just need to keep improving and learning every day in practice.”
Though the start of their season wasn’t ideal, the Marlins are confident that there is great success in their future.
“The start of the season isn’t exactly what we wanted,” senior Nancy Kelly said. “We know we still have a lot of work to do, but I’m confident that we can get it done.”
This level of confidence seems to be matched by all the members of the Women’s Basketball team, from the players to the coaching staff.
After last season’s ending with a loss to Guilford in the ODAC quarterfinal game last year, the Marlins are setting their sights on an ODAC championship win this season.  With a strong, experienced group of upperclassmen to lead the way, along with a healthy roster, the Marlins have all the right components to become a dominant force within the ODAC conference. Junior Kelly Jones believes that this is the year they will come out on top.
“This year we have a great group of ladies that want to win for each other,” said Jones. “We work to get better every day, either in practices or in games. This year is different from the past couple of years because we have a sense of urgency. We have a lot of experience by having five seniors and two juniors. We have everyone back from injuries, and we know we can make a difference this year in the ODAC.”
With a dedicated group of upperclassman leaders on their way out, the underclassmen appear to be just as eager to rise to the occasion and help the Marlins succeed.
“This year is really special because we have five seniors who are really dedicated and love this game and this team so much,” said Kelly. “We know it’s our last season and our last chance, and we’re going to do everything we can to win it, but we also have a big freshman class that pushes us in practice and has a lot to offer.”
Not only do the upperclassmen bring a strong presence to the court, but the underclassmen play a driving role in the team’s outcome as well.  In a game against Stevenson on Sunday Nov. 30, sophomore Crystal Strother led the team with nine points during the game. Though the Marlins were unable to come out on top against Stevenson, their attitude remains hopeful.
“The loss may be just what we needed to spark the fire in order to come together,” said senior Symonne Newsome. “We need to work extremely hard this week in practice so that we can make sure we get a win against Guilford.”
With a majority of their season still lying ahead, the Marlins are hopeful that talent and growing team chemistry on and off the court will help them push them past a tough start.