Experience and consistency main focus for Gaels



Chambers led the Gaels to their first Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship in the 2015-2016 season.

Matthew Chaves, Sports Editor

The Iona College women’s basketball team went to the quarterfinals in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference last year after a rough regular season. After being seeded ninth and having to fight their way through the first round, they gave second seed Rider a tough game, ultimately losing 54-46. Head Coach Billi Chambers hopes now that the team has experience with high level collegiate basketball, things will turn out better this season.

“Last year, when you’re going into practice, you’re aware that everything you’re teaching is new for every person,” Chambers said. “This year, you see the upperclassmen pulling aside the younger kids to explain to them what we’re doing.”

Injuries and the departure of two players hindered the Gaels’ momentum last season, leaving them with holes in the lineup and a weaker team. This season, Chambers hopes to use the experience of the team to better implement its up-tempo style of play.

The ultimate goal of winning the MAAC hasn’t left the eyes of the Gaels despite the multiple hurdles and setbacks. Looking at those around the women’s basketball team and seeing their success further fuels their fire to go on to the NCAA tournament, according to Chambers.

“You want to surround yourself with champions,” Chambers said.

The offseason called for no breaks for the Gaels as they continued their day-to-day training to better their play. Some major players Chambers thinks will help guide the Gaels to glory include senior Morgan Rachu, who led the team in scoring and rebounding last season, sophomorePaulla Weekes, who was injured for the entirety of last season, and sophomore Shyan Mwai, who was at her peak right before her injury in late December last year.

A consistent competitiveness gained from years of rebuilding will help drive the Gaels toward a victorious season in the MAAC, Chambers explained. The versatility of the team’s individual styles of play helps create the system Chambers plans to use to accomplish their goals.

“We have sub in and have kids screening and popping, we can have them diving in and posting up,” Chambers said. “Just having a different style of play to be able to adjust within [the game], all of them fit so very well into the way we want to play.”