The journey for a four-peat begins soon for the Bridgewater State University women’s basketball team.
The Lady Bears have captured the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) championship the past three years, and are the favorites to take home the title again this season.
“I think it’s just exciting in the thought of going for the fourth championship in a row,” said Bridgewater State head coach Bridgett Casey. “But at the same time knowing how hard we had to work each one of those years and how hard we’re going to have to work to stay up on top. It’s a challenge and one that we’re looking forward to.”
Bridgewater State opens their season on the road Tuesday against Williams College. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
The Lady Bears have eight returning players from last year, including four starters.
“I think we have a good group of returners,” said senior guard and captain Colleen Hanscom. “We have five seniors and we all have a lot of experience. It’s a good group of new players as well. I think it should be a good balance overall.”
The four starters returning, Elisha Homich, Jenna Williamson, Megan Boutilette, and Hanscom, are all seniors and will all play pivotal roles in the team’s success this season.
“I think that the experience of the upperclassmen and to take those first year players under their wings and just show them the rope is really what we’re looking for because once before, they were freshmen themselves,” Casey said. “I’m looking for them to take their experience and take this talent and bring it all together.”
With the preseason almost completed, Casey has been pleased by what she has seen out of her team.
“I think we came in pretty good conditioning shape,” Casey said. “Which obviously helps for our style of play which is just get the ball, get out and run. We’re a very fast break oriented team. Applying pressure at both ends is something that we thrive on.”
By playing an uptempo style, the preseason has emphasized a lot of conditioning.
“We’re doing a lot of drills right now in practice,” said senior center Tatyana Belizaire. “We’re trying to get plays down, a lot of boot camp.”
With the preseason coming to a close very soon, there is anticipation from the players to begin their season and their title defense.
“Right now, I just want to get the games started and start being able to win,” said Belizaire.
Bridgewater State is already looking ahead to what this team might be able to accomplish with a fourth straight MASCAC title, even though the first game has not even been played yet.
“I’m most excited about conference games,” said Hanscom. “Getting back to playoffs, getting back to where we ended off last year. I think we ended a little too soon and I’m just happy to get back to the MASCAC playoffs and also the NCAAs.”
Time will only tell if the Lady Bears will make it through their schedule and onto a fourth straight championship.
Emily Hayes is a Comment sports writer. Email her at email@example.com.