AU women’s basketball team anxious to get ball rolling on 2013-14 campaign
ALFRED, NY — As Jay Murphy prepares for his sixth season as Alfred University head women’s basketball coach, he is pleased with his team’s mindset and attitude.
“There’s always a lot of energy and enthusiasm when a season starts,” Murphy said of his current squad. “The girls are working hard and getting better each day. They get along extremely well. It’s a fun team to coach.”
The team will begin its 2013-14 season at Penn State-Behrend in Erie, Pa. at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 15 in the first round of the Behrend Tournament. The Saxons will then face either John Carroll University or Grove City College on Saturday, Nov. 16, in the championship or consolation game. Murphy says each player will fill critical roles as the Saxons look to improve on their 6-19 record (0-14 Empire 8) from last season.
Murphy emphasizes he expects accountability and consistency from each player.
“All of our players are going to be key,” says Murphy. “Whether they’re the 12th girl on the team or the first girl on the team can change depending on how you’re performing in practice.”
Six players return to the team including junior guard Harley Cleary (Rochester, NY/Our Lady of Mercy), who led the team in scoring last year with 14.4 points per game; and senior forward Sarah Federico (Buffalo, NY/Holy Angels) the team’s leading rebounder (7.1 per game) from a season ago.
Murphy said returning players, including junior guard Emilea Harrison (Conesus, NY/Dansville), senior guard Rachael Stedman (Hamburg, NY/Springville Griffith), sophomore forward Hailey Sick (Dansville, NY/Dansville) and junior forward Lindsay Drummond (Ogdensburg, NY/Ogdensburg) will need to increase their offense contributions for the team to succeed.
“Harley can’t always be our main focus in scoring,” Murphy said of Cleary, a two-time Empire 8 all-conference guard. “We have to spread the wealth around.”
Stedman and Harrison averaged 7.5 and 5.4 points per game, respectively, in reserve roles last season. Both are solid outside shooters who give the Saxons’ a three-point presence. Sick, the team’s second-leading rebounder last year (5.3 per game) averaged 4.3 points per contest. Drummond started the first 11 games of 2012-13 before suffering a season-ending injury. She was averaging 5.4 points and four rebounds per contest at the time.
Murphy holds high expectations for the team’s six freshmen: guards Jennifer Blum (Franklinville, NY/Franklinville), Mariana Crevison (Scottsville, NY/Wheatland-Chili), Maddi Flint (Caledonia, NY/Caledonia-Mumford), Kaylee Pearl (Olean, NY/Olean) and Kathryn Polletta (Ossining, NY/Ossining); and forward Amanda Off (South New Berlin, NY/Unadilla Valley).
Murphy referred again to preparation as being paramount to the team’s success.
“The thing we’re trying to stress right now is don’t settle for mediocrity in practice,” says Murphy. “We have to have effort every day in practice. We can’t afford a down day. We got to compete every day in practice. That competition in practice will carry over to games.”
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