Last week I spoke with Norwich University women's basketball coach Mark Zacher about the upcoming season. And then his team went and won its first two games, taking the Plymouth State College Tip-Off Tournament and sophomore Aliah Curry was named the tournament's MVP.
Not a bad start.
Here's more from Zacher that did not make my story that ran last week:"She hasn’t been tested other than one scrimmage, she missed our second scrimmage with the rugby finals," Zacher said of freshman Riley Blankenship, who starred at Lyndon Institute. "Riley, for her size, she’s an extremely quick and athletic player in addition to being tremendously strong. We did a drill in practice where the ladies had to complete four layups, going up, grabbing the basketball from a chair, in a matter of 14 seconds. The final came down to Kristin and Riley, which shows you some of the athleticism of that young lady."
"Jessalyn Sweeney, she had to play more of a 4 last season and we can move her to more of a 3 position, which is more her natural position," Zacher said of the senior co-captain. "Plus, she’s healthy. She’s gone through a series of injuries her first two years, and she is playing outstanding. Last year, at 5-foot-8, she was our leading rebounder. Kelsey Lotti is a kid who played a umber of positions and did outstanding. We’re excited about our perimeter players. It’ll be about how our younger players perform inside, which is where we recruited."
"We are a pressure team, but we’re a team that forces teams to take contested outside shots. Our goal is to own the paint and not let teams get in to where they want to get in close."
"Potentially this could be, in my four years here at Norwich, the deepest team we’ve had. It’s going to come down to how quickly the freshmen sort out the rest. When the light goes on with them, we’re going to compete. Talent 1-15, it doesn’t drop off significantly, each of them can contribute in their own way."
And more from junior co-captain Kristin Brown, who played three sports at Williamstown:"I was a little nervous but excited," she said of finding out she would be a captain this season. "I just want to do anything I can to help the team. Coach thought I would be good for this role with the team, and he has every bit of my confidence in him and I’m going to step in and do what I can to help this team."
"I’ve changed a little bit. Toward the end of high school I tried to make myself more of a scoring threat but here I drew myself back. I had great juniors and seniors, so I decided I was going to distribute the basketball. We had Christine Daniels, Laurel McWilliams and Karissa Doyon, they’re all going to score potentially 20 a night. My role was to get them the basketball in the best position to score points, but I think now I need to become more of a scoring threat."
"I say it every single year, that us Vermonters really have to carry the team. I’m always happy when we get Vermont players, people downplay Vermont basketball and even some of our players from out of state. I say, ‘Look around you, look at Karissa and Laurel and Riley, look at her banging on the boards, and look at Erin Clark, she’s got some of the best post moves on our team. They’ve been outstanding.’"
The Cadets, both the men and the women, are home this Sunday at 1 and 3 p.m. against Johnson State College.
- Anna Grearson