Women’s basketball remains positive


Senior guard Mekayla Clarke tosses a pass in a game against Randolph-Macon College on Feb. 17 in TowneBank Arena.

McKenna Howenstine|Marlin Chronicle

The 2023-2024 season has not been kind to the Marlins Women’s Basketball team. Their record sits at 3-22 as of Feb. 20 with just two games left to be played in the season.

The Marlins will end up missing the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) tournament this season. They have not made the conference tournament since the 2019-2020 season. 

As of Feb. 20 the university posted a message on the school website that they were looking to hire a head coach for the Women’s Basketball team; according to the job posting applications will be reviewed immediately.

Despite the upcoming change of coaching staff, the team has remained positive in their outlook, especially concerning the youth of this team. Nine of the 13 players on the roster are first-years. The Marlins have just one fifth-year, Logan Carter, and no seniors.

Outgoing Head Coach Quntashea Lewis discussed her thoughts on the team’s progress.

“I know that we are not showing a lot of progress in the wins and losses column, but we have grown a lot from our first game to our most recent,” Lewis said.

While seasons like these can sometimes force a team apart, Lewis sees the positives that come from it.

“We have a lot of freshmen who are getting on-court experience early on in their careers and I believe that will really help us moving forward if we can hold that core group together,” Lewis said.

The team has been able to play their younger talent consistently to get them experience.

“It’s frustrating because we do have a lot of talent, but it is just young talent. Most recently, we have games where we are starting three freshmen, which is very different from other teams,” Lewis said.

The ODAC line-up currently consists of eight teams with 10 or more wins, which can make it tough to compete with a roster of so many underclassmen.

Junior captain Jada Norman gave her input on leading such a young team.

“It’s different playing with a majority of freshmen. I wouldn’t say it has made it more difficult, but there is more of a learning experience and we have to take things a little bit slower,” Norman said.

Norman has said that she has seen a lot of growth from the first semester of college to the second, on and off the court.

“I have made sure to be really patient with them, as that helps me take a step back and be able to teach them in any way that I can,” Norman said.

Even with the way the season has gone, Norman has enjoyed being around such a great group of people.

“Being a junior now, I can say that this is the best group of girls in terms of personalities on the team, which has made it easier for everyone to get along with each other and to keep the good vibes through this season,” Norman said.

Fifth-year Logan Carter shoots the ball over Randolph-Macon defenders. 

McKenna Howenstine|Marlin Chronicle

When asked about the future of the program, Norman expressed her motivation and goals for next year.

“This is not the end. We will come back next year and we are going to keep working and we are just going to keep getting better,” Norman said.

The captain guard ranks third among the team in steals (27), while also knocking down the second most 3-pointers among the team (14).

One of the many first-years, Cora Barger, shared her thoughts on the season.

“As the season has progressed, we have started to learn how to work together better and the older girls have really helped by being there for us during this season,” Barger said.

The first-year guard made sure to point out that the main reason behind the record for this season has been the youth of this team, and that they will continue to progress together.

Barger has appeared in seven games for the Marlins this season as a first-year.

Sophomore captain Meadow Dyke is doing everything she can to push the team through these tough times.

“I am just trying to keep everyone motivated. I understand that this is not an ideal first season for the freshmen, but I make sure to push and encourage them every day,” Dyke said.

Along with the inexperience of the team, injuries have not been kind to the players.

“We don’t have a very big roster, and we are dealing with some injuries right now, so it can be tough to manage and work with what we have through games,” Dyke said.

While emphasizing that this year is not done yet, Dyke explained her current thoughts on the team moving forward. 

“The expectation is that we will all be back, so we are just trying to build as much chemistry right now to carry that into next season,” Dyke said.

Fifth-year Logan Carter spoke with hope regarding Lewis’s departure and the future of the team.

“I think it’d be great for the team to have some new positive energy come in and switch things up,” Carter said.  

The Marlins face challenges as they navigate a young team and adjust to a new coach, yet their spirits remain high. 

By: Coy Camiscioli