The University of Winnipeg Wesmen women’s basketball team held tryouts last week and will kick off the season with a significantly different roster.
While eight players are returning to the team, five from last year are not back. With four new rookies, head coach Tanya McKay views the team in two categories.
“I see the team in two parts: fourth – and fifth-years, and first and second,” she said. “We’re very veteran but we’re also very young.”
Assistant coach Tami Pennell agrees that the squad contains a mixture of skills and hopes to foster confidence in those returning from last year.
“We lost quite a few veterans last year ... and our goal this year is to try to develop some leadership (in the new veterans),” Pennell said.
The three fifth-years (Catie Gooch, Alex MacIver and Kaitlin Rempel) and two fourth-years (Mackenzie Prasek and Amy Ogidan) are learning to be more vocal as they step into the role of leading the team.
“We feel that as every practice goes on, it’ll get a little better, and we’re looking forward to that,” Pennell said.
Prasek said that the Wesmen are looking forward to coming together as a team over the month of September and learning to play as one unit in pre-season next month.
“I feel that the pre-season games in October will be a great way to bring our team together,” the fourth-year player said. “The game experiences will give us a chance to close the gap between the veterans and rookies.”
The Wesmen will be in two pre-season tournaments, starting with their own BOB FM tournament on Thanksgiving weekend, and followed by a tournament at Lakehead University Oct. 15 to Oct. 17.
There is a general feeling of excitement among the players and coaches now that the team has been finalized. Gooch, who is co-captain with Ogidan, is thrilled to have new blood pumping through the team.
“I’m really excited for this year and I think we have a lot of potential with the new recruits coming in,” she said.
McKay is also keyed up about the team this year, and believes that they have great potential for a successful season.
“If the veteran players bring what they should bring, and the rookies play with no fear, then I think we’re OK,” she explained.
When asked about their chances to make the national competition this year, McKay said that she’s not worried about looking that far down the court, yet.
“I want to keep us right here,” she said. “We’re going to focus on the season and what’s in front of us. Number one is making playoffs.”
Published in Volume 65, Number 3 of The Uniter (September 16, 2010)