The women’s basketball team here at Roosevelt University might have gotten off to a slow start to the year, but with their head coach back on the bench after a brief hiatus, they are ready to build off promising results in recent weeks.
Their campaign began at the end of October as the team dropped their opening two contests. The first game of the year was away to Bethel College, where Roosevelt made a late comeback that fell just short as they ended up losing by seven points
It was more of the same in the following matchup. The team traveled out to Gary, Indiana to face Indiana Northwest, where another Lakers rally came short. Roosevelt fell to 0-3 to start November, losing to Mount Vernon Nazarene by double digits.
They were able to pick up their first win in dominant fashion in their next contest, blowing out Silver Lake College by a score of 82-42. Roosevelt did drop the next two games at the start of conference play, but did well to rebound and are now on a two game win streak after beating Lincoln College.
During this stretch, the team were without head coach Keisha Newell, who went on maternity leave after giving birth to her daughter at the beginning of the month. Coach Newell did miss four games during that time, but returned to the bench in the teams most recent victory.
“It was tough leaving the team,” said Newell. “They are all a big part of my life even outside of basketball and it was an adjustment being away. What’s amazing though is that they get to see me not only be a coach, but also a mom and a wife as well.”
For some teams, being without their head coach would be a big problem. However, the team’s assistant coaches were able to step up to the plate and help the Lakers continue to grow and develop as a team without a hitch.
“Working under the assistant coaches was a lot of fun and full of positivity,” said senior hospitality and tourism major Becca Bergman.
“I think we have great assistant coaches that not only push us to be better but also hype us up in the process. We beat a ranked team with them and I believe they did a great job at coaching us the past few weeks.”
They were able to hold the fort in her absence. Now, coach Newell has returned to the team, and everyone is ready to push forward for the rest of the season.
“It’s been great having coach Newell back,” said assistant coach Tiana Karopulos. “I think we did a decent job while she was away, but having her back is like completing the puzzle. Above all, we are just thrilled that coach Newell and baby Addisyn are happy and healthy.”
This growth is especially vital considering the relative youth of the roster, with six players in their freshman year. For the elders in the team, this means an added responsibility to help keep them on the right track on and off the court.
“There’s a lot to be taught to the newcomers,” Bergman said. “So being a leader by example during practice and games is important.”
“I learned that patience and perseverance are everything,” said Karopulos. “By being patient and trusting the system, we are creating a great culture for our current program and for years to come.”