By: Madeline Linnell ‘17
Gordon’s Women’s Basketball program has undergone major changes with little success in the past few years.
Carter Shaw is the third person to hold the position of head coach since 2013. From 2012-2015, the program repeated the record 1-17 in conference games. Past-head coach, Corey Laster was able to lead the Fighting Scots with a 2-17 conference record last year and an overall record of 6-19, which is higher than every season since 2011.
With a 19-person roster, the Scots are chomping at the bit to prove they have what it takes to reach the CCC tournament.
“The attitude toward this season is that we are done building. We have gone through that phase already, and we are ready to be competing at a higher level than Gordon Women’s Basketball has in the past. We are hungry to prove what we are capable of, and are excited to prove some people wrong while in the process,” said Jamie Tafoya ‘19.
Imani Lennon ‘19 also described this “hunger” as being a result of previous seasons’ challenges. She said, “The hunger grew from the returners who experienced losing record seasons, and the coaches wanting to turn the program around.” The returners, in other words, are the historians of past tribulations and, consequently, help fuel the desire to succeed.
Leading the team in a more explicit fashion are the captains, Sophie Linnell ‘18, Olivia Stark ‘19 and Jenna Olsen ‘18.
Lennon said that the newcomers add to this drive as well. “The rise in talent definitely comes from our returners that have gotten better in the off season and freshmen coming in with a lift.”
Tafoya, however, acknowledged that there are some challenges that come with having so many newcomers to the team, at least in the season’s early stages. She said, “Because of our youth, I think that we lack a consistency that a lot of other teams we face have.”
The underdog mentality is paramount in this team’s psyche. When asked which game she is looking forward to the most, Linnell said that University of New England (UNE) “have been ranked first in the division, and we’ve been pre-season ranked as tenth. I think they will be surprised in the Gordon they play this year.”
Perhaps it is too soon to tell how UNE will react to this year’s Fighting Scots. Gordon’s overall record is 3-6, while the conference record fares 2-1.
Gordon’s Women’s Basketball is defined by more than just a string of statistics, though. This is a team of heart with a deep sense of purpose.
Lennon said, “The motto of playing to glorify God makes basketball at Gordon distinctive. As Christians, glorifying God is always the goal in everything we do, but to put it in the lens of competing, grit, and toughness is a whole new perspective. It is the ability to get on the court and perform as the team that ‘won’t play hard because they love God’, but to be the team that ‘plays hard because they love God’. Everything, especially physical and mental ability in basketball is a gift.”
The Scots are scheduled to compete against Thomas College on Dec. 30.