BY CORY NIDOH
Assistant Sports Editor
With all of the excitement surrounding the Men’s Basketball team at East Stroudsburg University, the Women’s team is quietly putting together a solid campaign as they are in the middle of the pack in the PSAC East Conference.
The Warriors, led by head coach Maureen Smith, are currently 11-9 overall and 6-4 in conference play after their 80-56 victory over the Kutztown Golden Bears.
The women’s team has already passed their win total from a year ago after a disappointing 7-20 record where they limped in to the PSAC playoffs and had a first round exit. This year, however, is a different story.
With the addition of Allison Howard, the return of Ryann Fiascki, the emergence of Melissa Poderis, and the decorated forward Jessica Martin, the Warriors are looking to make a run at the conference and in the PSAC playoffs with seven games remaining on the schedule.
Four of those seven will be played at home, where the Warriors have an 8-3 record at Koehler Field House.
Martin, the two-time All-PSAC East Second team selection, spoke about the team’s turnaround and what they are looking to accomplish as the season is nearing an end.
CN: The team is playing better compared to last year. What has led to the turn around?
JM: “ I think we have a different commitment level this year compared to last year. Everybody came in understanding we are trying to build a program and obviously had the potential last year but didn’t live up to it. I think everyone is more committed to showing everyone the ability we have and everybody has a good work ethic and been fairly consistent since preseason started.”
CN: The PSAC is a good conference in Division II, what’s it like playing good competition week in and week out?
JM: “It definitely keeps you accountable. You can’t take a week off in the PSAC. West Chester is up there right now but if they take a day off anyone can knock them off. I think it definitely keeps teams accountable and makes you understand you have to work even harder to get those wins.”
CN: You’re Averaging 12.6 PPG right now and finished last season averaging 11. What’s lead to the increase in productivity?
JM: “I worked over the summer and preseason but having the other players around me. Allison (Howard) came in and it frees me up a little bit in not getting as many double teams and she can score. Pretty much everyone out there someone has to worry about. We don’t have a player out there where a team can say don’t worry she won’t score. Everybody we put out there can score going all the way down through the bench.”
CN: The team is in the middle of the pack in the standings. What are you and your teammates focusing on with the final home stretch of the season coming up?
JM: “Just taking it one game at a time. We know that if we take care of these next couple games that can move us up and knock off one of the teams above us and puts us in a good spot for the playoffs.”
CN: Why the number 43?
JM: “To be totally honest, I was 42 in high school and coach sent out the information for equipment and sizes. I sent mine in and said I wanted to be 42 but saw the numbers available and Kelsey Murray sent her information 10 minutes before mine so I took the next best number in 43, other than that no special meaning.”
CN: Pregame ritual/music/meal
JM: “Nothing in particular. Get taped in the training room. I play Candy Crush in the training room pretty consistently. As far as meals I’d say a lighter meal before the game. Music I like Country every once and a while but it’s not on our warm-up CD so I have to get my fix before.”
CN: What do you look forward to most on game day?
JM: “I just look forward going out and playing the sport that I love with my awesome teammates. There’s no other group of girls I would rather play with. We have our ups and downs but it’s just fun to play with them. Win or lose we are still able to come back the next day and have fun together and goof around a little bit but also get down to business and take care of what we need to.”
CN: How long have you been playing basketball and who introduced it to you?
JM: “I’ve been playing since 3rd grade but not really sure who introduced it to me I just signed up for rec league. Amy McDonald has been a big part in getting me to the collegiate level as my coach my senior year of high school. She definitely had an impact.”
CN: If you had to play another sport, what one would it be?
JM: “I played lacrosse in high school so it would definitely be lacrosse. I kind of thought about that for a quick second before I realized Coach Smith would probably kill me if I said I was going to play another sport.”
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