The Rowan women’s basketball team had their best season since 2009 last season. At the helm of the operation is head coach Gabby Lisella, who returns to coach for her 16th season.
“The players [keep me coaching]. It’s fun,” Lisella said. “The best part is watching kids come in and grow and develop. It’s always about the players and helping them be successful in life.”
The brown and gold compiled an overall record of 17-9 and finished with a 12-6 mark in the New Jersey Athletic Conference. Lisella thinks that teams weren’t prepared for their up-tempo, fast break offense and pressure defense style of play.
Despite the successful overall record, the season could have been even better. The Profs started the season hot, winning nine of their first 10 games, including eight in a row to start the season. After the hot start, the results were mixed and the team couldn’t put together more than a three game winning streak.
“I think teams were a little more prepared in knowing what to expect,” Lisella said. “We ran into cold shooting as well. Some close games that didn’t come our way in the second half.”
Going into this season, the Profs were selected to finish fourth in the NJAC. Lisella isn’t putting much weight into that.
“I think people are just basing it off of last year and it gives them something to talk about,” Lisella said. “It’s hard to see how new players will have an impact. No games have been played.”
This year’s team will rely on much of the same things that they did last season. Lisella says that the team is very deep, and may even play 10 deep as the season progresses.
“We’re very versatile. We run well, we have a pressure mentality, and our players do many different things,” Lisella said. “If we can put it all together, it will be an exciting season.”
With such a deep team, there are many players to watch. Lisella highlighted three fifth year seniors, forward Kate Matthews, guard Kaitlin Schullstrom, and guard Melissa Lake. Sophomore guard Summer Crilley, junior guard Anyssa Sanchez, and sophomore guard/forward Alex Raring were also brought up, but Lisella said that she believes anyone on the team could rise to the occasion.
As for their schedule, the Profs will face a slew of strong opponents.
“I think the non-conference schedule is strong. We’re headed to Messiah Colleg this weekend. They’re usually in the NCAA tournament. Widener is often there as well,” Lisella said. “Over the Christmas holiday we play Cabrini and Eastern. They were regionally ranked last year. It’ll be good so we can see where we stand in the region.”
The 2015-2016 season tips off this Friday as Rowan travels to Messiah as part of the Hampton Inn Tip-Off Classic. They open against Lehman College Friday, and will either play in a consolation game, or a championship game.