Zero wins in conference and three wins overall wraps up the Virginia Wesleyan University Women’s Basketball team 2021-2022 season. The Lady Marlins fought hard and strong this season, but it was not enough to get them to the conference championship rounds.
At the end of the season, the team finished with a record of 3-22 overall and 0-18 in the conference. They finished at the bottom in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) standings.
“If I had to rate it, I would say an 8 because I think at the end of the day we started off pretty rough, but my girls had the option to either start where we’re at or throw the season away,” Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach Christina Mabry said.
This season was a challenging one as Head Coach Liz Hudy was out for most of the season so Coach Mabry had to assume the leadership role, along with Volunteer Assistant Coaches Ramona Dominguez and Jayla Harris by her side. However, the team carried on and played their hardest, and “every day we got 1 percent better and that was the goal,” Mabry said.
At the beginning of the season, the Lady Marlins had a rough start, losing their first three games of the season. Things started looking up after they hosted the Townebank Tip Off Tournament where the team took home two wins against the Battling Bishops of NC Wesleyan and the Avenging Angels of Meredith College.
However, the Marlins began to lose game after game, leading to a 15-game losing streak for the season. “I would say it’s probably like a 6. Playing-wise we didn’t do that good but the team in general after we got through a few hiccups it got better, so that made it the best part,” senior Celeste Rucker, a guard for the VWU Women’s Basketball team, said.
During the middle of the season, the team started with a high roster number and ended with a low roster number. The roster started off with 15 players, then the roster went down to 10 players. “We had a few people leave for personal reasons or academic reason, and it sucked because we are all… super close. So, it made… the drive for people a little less,” Rucker said.
Teammates leaving can affect team culture and dynamics and it depends on how the team decides to respond. Mabry said the dynamic of the team can change one or two ways, but that it is really about how the team comes together after they leave, and she said the team responded well. “We wish them nothing but the best and there are no hard feelings,” Mabry said.
As of right now, there is no mention of any of the team members that left that plan on coming back, according to Coach Mabry.
The Women’s Basketball team already has areas of improvement they plan to work on. The first one is to “foster a culture where winning also comes with chemistry and building that family feel,” Mabry said. She said they want to work on their foundation and figure out what they stand for.
Rucker added on and said that personal development is something that the team should work on, as well as focusing on playing together as a team.
Going into the off-season, Mabry plans on getting some recruiting done. She said that they want to put the right people around the returners so the pieces fit. With all the challenges they faced this season they are “hoping to bring in kids that are going to make the program better from a basketball standpoint,” Mabry said.
In terms of workouts one of the things Mabry hopes to do is getting the team back to doing beach workouts on Friday to work on agility.
Since Rucker is a senior this year, she was asked if she had any advice for the team. She said, “I would say to not be so hard on yourself all the time. Everybody makes mistakes and it’s about getting over it and moving past it.”
By Shirell Washington