Abbey-Nowatzki looks to build women’s hoops program throughout season
By Nikki Leonardo
It has been a rough start to a challenging season for the Flagler Saints women’s basketball team.
The ladies were defeated on Nov. 2, in an exhibition game against the Jacksonville University Dolphins, 76-47. On Nov. 8, the Saints faced another tough exhibition match-up against the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats, refusing to go down without a fight, but losing 64-56.
“We weren’t playing together as a team,” junior forward Brittany Garmon said. “We didn’t execute the plays.” Garmon recorded a double double with a total of 12 points and 13 rebounds.
New Head Coach Sherri Abbey-Nowatzki has put more of an emphasis on playing a tougher schedule this season as a big reason for the team’s losses. Abbey-Nowatzki also says that even though they were defeated, the ladies are on the right track for a successful season.
“We are doing things the right way. The girls need to come to practice everyday and play on a consistent level. We did really good things at the Bethune-Cookman game.”
With a rocky start, most coaches might be more apprehensive about the season that looms before them, but Abbey-Nowatzki said her team’s drive and passion have not been shaken.
“I don’t think the morale of the team was brought down. We are building on these losses, trying to raise our level, but still keeping it light. We need to focus on the big picture: having a lot of work still ahead of us, and keeping a positive attitude and a willingness to work,” she said.
On Nov. 17-18, Flagler traveled to Saint Leo for the Sleep Inn Classic. In their first game of the regular season, the Saints came out strong, hanging with the NCAA Div. II Clayton State Lakers for the entire first half. The Lakers have gone to the Div. II National Tournament the last two years. However, a 32-27 halftime score quickly got out of hand as the teams came out of the locker room.
Clayton State went on a 16-0 run to start the second half and killed any chances the Saints had of pulling off the upset. They lost by a score of 76-44. Senior forward Jamie Allenbaugh recorded a double double for the Saints and sophomore forward Elizabeth Tuzzolo had 11 points. Flagler committed 41 turnovers in the loss.
The next day, the Saints took on host Saint Leo and the results weren’t much better.
Saint Leo established a 44-27 lead at halftime as Flagler shot 16 percent from the floor. The Saints played a closer game in the second half, but could not mount a comeback, losing 77-57 and dropping to 0-2. Tuzzolo and Allenbaugh each had 13 points.
Even with several losses, the ladies expectations for the season have not changed. “With a new coach and girls, we all have different expectations and set goals at the beginning of the season. We need to carry over those expectations to each game,” Garmon said.
Abbey-Nowatzki shares those feelings. “My expectations haven’t changed. We need to redefine the roles and goals of the team and make them more tangible.”