BUCKHANNON – With the West Virginia Wesleyan Lady Bobcat basketball season right around the corner, third-year head coach Vicky Bullett continues to rebuild the program.
“As I enter my third season here at Wesleyan, my expectation for our team is that we continue to develop our personality on the court and to progress throughout the season,” Bullett remarked. “Our conference teams are loaded with talent and right now we have to grow fast mentally and physically to compete at this stage.”
Gone from last year are leading scoring Mari Stewart who averaged 14.1 points per game and Stacy Remer, the third-leading scorer, with 8.9 points per game.
Bullett will turn to a very young group of players for success following an 8-20 campaign last season.
The roster shows just two seniors – guards Mykenzie Martin and Alexa Szelong. Martin averaged 12 minutes a game scoring 0.8 points per contest while Szelong started 14 games playing 19 minutes and averaging 5.6 points per game.
“On paper, we have a very inexperienced group and only one player from the freshman group last year, Brittany Stawovy who played a very important role for the team when Tyra Hughes and Summer Matlack ended last year early due to injuries,” Bullett stated.
Hughes, a junior guard was averaging 12.2 points per game in nine games before injury and Matlack, a sophomore guard was scoring 3.8 points per game and dishing out 1.9 assists per game before her season ended. Both players are back this year.
“We have a few top players that I observed that will make a difference this season,” Bullett commented. “Leading the pack is Szelong. She had a great preseason and her work ethic over the summer placed her in great condition to play more than 30 minutes this season. She will give us strong-on-ball defense and rebounding.
“Victoria Jackson is very aggressive with her open court speed to attack the rim off the dribble. It gives us an advantage as she is able to get to the rim or find our open shooter. Hughes who is released and has recovered from last year’s injury will also be an offensive threat. She sees the court well and is able to break down the defense to score and find the open shooters as well. Stawovy, who has the IQ to run this team. She is very confident in what she is able to accomplish as a leader at the point position as well as give our team scoring from the arc.
“She is not the quickest player on the team, but knows the concepts of defense to anticipate and remain between man and ball. She is the game changer when it comes to her IQ of the game. Her ability to handle the pressure, keep the team organized to execute plays and confidence is valuable. I am comfortable when she is on the court. “
Bullett said her incoming class is still a work in progress at this point of the pre-season.
“The top newcomers are working to progress at this time,” Bullett commented. “They all hit a brick wall with the expectations as they transitioned into the program. Prior to entering college, as an athlete they need to meet their coach’s expectations in the off season, and most fall short and struggle to get organized as the season starts.
“However, one of the six newcomers, freshman Cyndey Lapczynski, a left-handed shooting guard is making strides so far as she has been the most consistent incoming player that has shown progress. She is improving offensively getting to the rim, but needs to be more aggressive one the defensive end of the court.”
Bullett and her Lady Bobcats were picked 11th in the 12-team Mountain East Conference in the preseason coaches’ poll.
“The MEC conference will be competitive, and I think the preseason polls placed us next to last,” Bullett remarked. “I wasn’t bothered as I know that we have a lot of growing to do at this time. We have to take that vote and get motivated. I think that we will have a tough time with the teams that have the bigger more physical inside presence as we did not acquire any player that can challenge any post player that plays on the low block. So we have our hands full with that weakness in our roster.”
Bullett said one thing she wants to see from her team is that they get better each day.
“The ultimate goal for our team is to challenge our daily efforts on the court,” she concluded. “Each approach to practices and games has to be discipline. I always share with my students that they have to trust the process, however, they have to believe that the training and their work ethic has to be a routine challenge. If they don’t challenge themselves then there is no change. The final goal that I express to my team is to understand the growth mindset. Each individual has to learn to train the mind as much as they train their bodies to play physically. Finally, for those who enjoy sports please come out and support our Lady Bobcats! We would love to hear your cheers!”
Wesleyan will open the season Wednesday hosting Pitt-Johnstown at 6 p.m.