Early challenges test women

After early season play against JU and UNF, team is battle-tested

By Kathy Novak | gargoyle@flagler.edu

At about a third of the way through the season and with a 2-4 record, the Lady Saints are dealing with changes that involve more competition and bigger challenges.

In the past, they have played a hard game of basketball, displaying all that they’ve got on the court. But this season it’s different.

“With a new season, comes new players on both ends — Saints and opponents. We are in Division II now — we will compete better. Will that result in wins? That’s up to the kids to find a way to do that,” Coach Sherri Abbey-Nowatzki said.

With each new season comes a lot of growth, and the Lady Saints have been through a lot and learned a lot from last season until now.

“We had to learn some hard lessons early on. We schedule tough early for a reason,” she said.

“We want to turn up the level of intensity in practice and we have high standards this year.”

What challenges does she see for the season? “We graduated Mel and Brittney, our major scorer and point leader. Replacing these go-to players will push for a deeper team — provide for a lot more options. We are playing at a higher level with a consistency, day-to-day performance up and down, which is common with a younger team. We have grown a lot.”

The Lady Saints have a scheduled 29 contests, not including the three National Independent Tournaments at the end of the season.

Nowatzki is looking forward to her team participating in the Peach Belt Conference, “We got snubbed last year — didn’t have a lot of success. In terms of teams — we’ve got a lot of good contests coming up — Boston this weekend, Kentucky — a team nationally ranked … and Valdosta.”

With challenges among fellow teams, there also comes those from within the team itself. Nowatzki realizes her teams strengths and weaknesses: “It has taken some time for them to get rid of individual ball, and play team ball. We recently went through a team building weekend with the National Guard. It posed challenges which they had to over come as a team, something that is beneficial to any situation, on and off the court.”

Nowatzki’s hopes for the season are high and hopeful.

“I am eager to see the maturation. We are doing well with the resources we have. I am proud of the way leadership has embraced it — kids came in with good energy and are going in the right direction.”

The Lady Saints come up on their fifth home game, this Saturday, Dec, 6, at 2 p.m.

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