On Saturday, November 9, Alma College’s Women’s Basketball team tipped off their season to not only a great start with a 60-44 win over Oberlin College, but new Head Coach Samantha Stormont’s first collegiate win.
This win set the tone for the season and expectations after coming off of a successful 2018-2019 season with a 9-7 record and advancement to the semifinals in the MIAA conference.
Head Women’s Basketball Coach Samantha Stormont said, “I am so proud of the year we had last year, but when the season ended, we all agreed we wanted more. We talked a lot about putting in the work this summer individually, so we didn’t miss a beat when we came back together in the fall. As a program, we constantly talk about our goals and what we’re fighting for.”
With this mindset in mind, the team makes sure to embrace the upcoming season and new head coach with open arms. The team is eager to make this year different and prove that they are here to play, which is the exact point the team made on the court on Saturday.
“The team’s mindset [going into Saturday’s game] was coming out and setting the pace within the first five minutes. We competed the entire game and are taking one game at a time. We protected home court and played as a team,” said Hannah Thelen (’20), a senior on the Basketball team.
From Coach Stormont’s leadership and the team’s mindset, mentality and a want to start off strong helped the Scots make a strong point with their win.
However, behind the mindset and hunger for a successful new season is the foundation for the up and coming team. Before the Scots take the court, they spend constant hours and time preparing for these moments.
These hours of practice not only help the athletes stay in prime condition for the season, but play a role in the overall cohesion of the team.
“Our practices consist of break-down drills between post and guards, shooting drills, and we focus a lot on defense and build on our offense. We end practices with a scrimmage or 5-on-5 drill. When practice is over, we recognize players who we believe stood out during the practice. We call these ‘Spotlights,”’ said Thelen.
These “spotlights” reflect not only the hard work of the players, but the unity and bond of the team that stems from the acknowledgement and practice.
Without these moments, the team would not be the team it is today.
“My favorite part of being a part of this team is how connected we are. Our crazy team has fun making memories and laughing together. Our team chemistry is the key to success,” said Thelen.
The same can be said about Coach Stormont. Outside of these moments and the “spotlights” in practice, the team and their win on Saturday put a big spotlight on their new head coach.
“Coach Stormont has high and achievable expectations for each individual along with the team as a whole this season to put nothing but 100% effort and dedication to this team and to never lose sight of how lucky we are and how great this program can be if we believe,” said Jennifer Brandt (’21).
From assistant coach to head coach, Coach Stormont already had a preexisting bond with the team. Her presence was a familiar face and impact on the team.
This made the transition easier for the team and herself.
“As our assistant coach last year, she knows the ins and outs of our team and uses that to capitalize our program this year. Sami’s expectations for this team are high. She knows our potential and believes this is the year we become MIAA Champs,” said Thelen.
With that in mind and Coach Stormont’s first big win on Saturday, the team went back to the court on Monday, November 11 to face off against Bluffton University, where their expectation and goals remained the same.
Speaking about Monday’s game, Brandt said, “We also hope to learn even more from this experience to take to the next practice and grow off of. We know what we came here for and what we have to do to get where we want to be and we hope to carry that out every minute of the game.”
The Scots put up a tough fight, but fell short with a 62-49 lose against Bluffton. This placing the team at 1-1.
However, despite the loss, the team is determined to keep moving forward and taking it day by day – one basket at a time.
“The girls absolutely set the tone for how hard we will compete every night. We played as a team and had a lot of fun, I expect nothing to change,” said Coach Stormont.