MC Women’s Basketball season comes to an end, coaches and players reflect on what made this season successful

The energy on the bench, the attitudes on the court and the closeness of the players on the MC Women’s Basketball team all create unique team dynamics that motivate success.

There were factors that influenced the dynamics on the MC Women’s Basketball team, including the experience level of new players, the leadership of returning players and the unpredicted team illness this past season.

“We went into the season knowing we were going to be a really young team,” said Darrin Travillian, head coach. “We have strong veteran leadership but the bulk of our roster are freshmen and sophomores.”

With such a young team, the players and coaches are able to focus on building a strong foundation that will support future seasons. In the beginning of the year, players and coaches made efforts to bond, Travillian explained.

During the fall, the team ate lunch together every Monday, making new connections and getting to know each other outside of just basketball, said Travillian.

“Our team is very young, and I think the start to our season set us up for success by the time we reached conference play,” guard Ella Haney (‘26) said.

While the players vary in collegiate experience, the common factors among all players were their attitudes, according to Travillian.

“They are a group that is totally bought in and very selfless. They are eager to learn and be coached every day,” he said. More importantly, he added, they enjoy playing together.

The age dynamics have also influenced the end of the season, as the team looks toward next year. With fifth-year senior and First Team All Conference Player Courtney Carruthers graduating this year, the team is losing a valuable starter and team leader.

“It will be a big void, but due to a couple different injuries she had throughout the year, we played a handful of games without [Carruthers],” Travillian said. “We saw people step up, both in playing her position, but also in leadership.”

This sentiment was echoed by Haney, who has stepped up as a starter on the team this season.

“I feel like we are a very unselfish team, and it is so fun to play with this group because we have contributions from everyone on any given night,” Haney explained.

While age and experience impacts the team in many ways, some unforeseen circumstances also contributed to the season. Travillian explained how the team faced the challenges of sickness on a college campus and on a team.

“I was sick at the beginning of the week, and by the time we came back Saturday night, the whole bus was sick,” Travillian said. “We had to postpone the Piedmont game because at one point on Sunday, I had nine players who were confirmed ill.

“If you get any bug or illness, it’s just going to work its way through the team. They are on the bus together, in the locker room together, in the hotel together, all those things,” he added.

The wave of sickness came at an important time during the season. While Travillian says in some ways it allowed the players a short break to recharge, there were also other effects due to the timing.

“We were playing a ton of games in a short amount of time. In some ways it broke up our rhythm, and we had to kick it into gear again,” he explained. “But then we came off that and had a really big win against LaGrange that Friday night.”

According to Travillian, the LaGrange and Piedmont games both stood out this season, connecting the group and setting the tone as the team advanced.

“Those two games felt like we were able to send a message. We showed the ability to attack offensively and finish plays. We had multiple players in double figures and defended really well,” Travillian said.

Haney acknowledged the team-wide growth of the team this season, attributing some success to the tough schedule of this conference, as well as the attitudes and adaptability of players.

“Over the course of the year, this team has improved more than any team that I’ve ever coached during one season,” said Travillian. “I think a lot of that is due to their close-knit nature, their coachability and that we really haven’t had a bad day. They come in every day to work hard and push each other.”

This growth from the team and from individual players is noticed by coaches and players alike.

“Basketball season is the longest season of any sport, but they have made this season fly by,” Travillian added. “I like the trajectory of the program for the long-term, and I’m happy for this group to have put together such a great conference run.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *