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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Women’s basketball dreams big with reinvigorated team

Murphy+has+led+the+Beacons+to+one+of+their+best+seasons+in+program+history
Murphy has led the Beacons to one of their best seasons in program history

Inexperience. Youth. Leadership.
Those are just a few concerns that head women’s basketball coach Courtney Mattingly and her staff have to overcome going into a new season.
“We’re a much different team than we were last year,” Mattingly said. “We had a lot of returners, a lot of veterans last year and we’re going to be looking for some of our newcomers to really step up and to step into some significant roles for us this season.” 
With inexperience and youth comes lack of leadership.
“I think this year we lost a lot of leadership in our upperclassmen and I think leadership is a huge kind of question mark for us,” Mattingly said.
However, Mattingly is working on molding her point guards to be an extension of herself on the court because, “The guards have the ball in their hands so much and they make so many of the decisions that they’re going to have to grow up so quick.”
“I’ve always had fairly experienced point guards,” she said. “You know, I’m a big proponent of the point guard position being an extension of myself, the coach on the floor.
“Right now there are three (point guards) that we’re really trying to groom and mentor into that leadership role.”
With only four returning players, Mattingly has the challenge of working with ten new players — a mixture of freshmen and sophomores. She’s looking forward to the challenge.
“It’s something we’ve given a lot of attention to. [We’ve done] a-lot of team activities, a-lot of team bonding, a-lot of conversation.”
Every year, Mattingly implements a new system for her players. This season, it’s the buddy system. Mattingly paired an upperclassman with an underclassman to help players adjust a new school.
For the Beacons, the good news is they return a strong and healthy backcourt, anchored by All-American junior Olivia Murphy.
“We’re experienced in the front-court with our post, but we are very young in our backcourt. So our decision making, and taking care of the basketball, is going to be huge for us,” Mattingly said.
“Kirsten Morrison as a senior is one of the more dominant post players in our conference. Katrina Edwards has improved tenfold at the forward position and then we have [Brittany Moore], who has great experience. So our front court is definitely solid and something that we’re going to depend on.”
This season, the Beacons staff made it a priority to recruit athletic players to compete in the conference.
“With the returners that we have and the addition of the newcomers, it’s probably the most athletic team that I’ve ever had and we made an effort in the recruiting class to get more athletic, especially when we get into conference play,” Mattingly said.
Though having a lot of newcomers will be a tough task, it can also be seen as a new spark for the Beacons
Defense. Coachability. Competitiveness.
Those are a few important things Mattingly values. Fortunately, for Mattingly, it’s not something she really has to worry with this team.
“I’ve really articulated defense this year, and tried to get them to buy in. I’m a defensive coach, I really stress and value defense,” she said.
And for the freshmen, Mattingly appreciates how responsive they’ve been.
“I love this age group, especially our freshmen. This freshman group, they’re very competitive. They want to get better, they want to learn, they’re very coachable, which I value as a coach.”
One of the Beacons’ preseason goals is giving themselves a chance to win late in conference games.
“Even though our conference is very good […] I think it’s sort of wide open,” Mattingly said.
“Every team is good and I think every night our goal is to compete and at least give ourselves a chance to win at the end of games.”
Though the Beacons open up against Colby College, a strong team, Mattingly insists, “No win is too big, no loss is too bad.”
The most important thing for Mattingly is that her team is playing “their best basketball in February” heading into the postseason.