The Meredith basketball team had a rough start to the season with many members of the team out with injuries and a small roster. Recently, however, the team has been on a winning streak that started on Dec. 15 with a win against Mary Baldwin. The team has since rallied to win more games, including wins against Salem, the other all-women’s college in the conference, and William Peace, our down-the-road rival. All of the games, nine of which have been wins, have been hard-fought, and these victories have shown how the team plays as a single unit. Assistant Athletic Director Wendy Jones said that “Anyone who has followed the Meredith basketball team this season will notice right away the progression on the court. The small roster appears to be the only obstacle standing in the way of the team's success, and the players on the team are learning to manage that challenge."
Jones said that the team “remains patient on offense and trusts in [Coach] Quick's system.” During games, Coach Quick is frequently heard telling the team to “slow down” and “take your time.” Her coaching style is effective. When asked about her coaching system, LaQuanda Quick, Head Coach, explained that “patience is [her] number one strategy.” She helps the team be a unified front through respect and accountability, admitting when she is wrong because she wants the team to understand that “it starts at the top.” She said that they also “truly love and respect one another.” This helps the team to play as one on the court and listen to one another better.
When asked who her MVP would be, Quick responded with Brittany Preston who sustained an injury that would normally end a player’s season or career a few days before practices began. Quick said of Preston, “Since she has rejoined us, it has made a major difference. She does the little things [on the court] and “this contribution is immeasurable.” Preston, a senior this year, her season has been all but cut short; it will be her final season playing for Meredith basketball.
A small roster has been a challenge to the team, that they have overcome, Quick explained. “It definitely affected our season early on. It is important to have 10 or more players for practice and sufficient substitutes for games. However, lack of players was something that was out of my control. I believe I have built a culture where this won't be a problem moving forward” Quick said. Quick has already begun recruitment efforts for future seasons. In the meantime, “We have learned to work around the issue for right now” she said.
The team has had a three-game winning streak, keeping their tournament hopes alive. They are 5-6 in conference and 4-4 for home games. Still, the team needs all the support it can get to turn these statistics into a winning season. With players such as Kimberly Schuh, averaging 20.1 points per game overall, and Kirstie King, who makes her free throws 56.1% of the time, the team is only getting stronger.
By Ell Shelp-Peck, Staff Writer