On Saturday, Nov. 16, the Wheaton College women’s basketball team opens their 2013-2014 season against Lesley University. The tip-off is part of the Cheryl Warren-Powers ’95 Memorial Tournament, named after an alum that passed away last year.
Head Coach Melissa Hodgdon begins her 11th season with the team, which has a new look across the roster as well as in the coaching staff. The team will see three new assistant coaches, as well as a group of first-years eager to make an impact.
Coach Hodgdon described bringing in a new set of coaches as a “long, thorough process”. More than anything, it was about “bringing people into your family.”
Amongst the new names working with Coach Hodgdon is Becky Aitchison ’08, a recent Wheaton graduate who spends her time away from the team in the Rhode Island Public Defender’s Office.
The team itself looks to rebound from consecutive 9-16 seasons, missing the NEWMAC tournament each year. Coach Hodgdon believes that this team can do what it takes to return to the tournament.
“Even though we lost four good players last year, I feel like we have a great nucleus returning.”
The Lyons have received consistent contributions from Sarah Fitzgerald ’14 and Lauren McClelland ’14 in the past, and Coach Hodgdon appreciates what she sees in her veterans.
“They want this program when they leave here in May to be better than when they came in”.
In a sense, the Lyons have been in a state of rebuilding, but this could be the season where everything comes together.
Another team in the early stages of rebuilding their roster is the Lesley squad the Lyons will square off with on Saturday. Coach Hodgdon sees a great opportunity for her club against Lesley, a team with which she is very familia.
“Lesley is a team [Coach Jason Talanian] is rebuilding, they’ve had some injuries and what not, so they might be a smaller roster”.
The Lyons scorched Lesley last year at the start of the season in a 70-30 blowout. With optimism circulating regarding this year’s team, the hope is that these Lyons will return to NEWMAC play, as the excitement over a fresh season builds across campus.