Did you ever wake up and just think “Damn, I want a nice hot breakfast? I want some pancakes, some eggs, maybe some bacon, and oh yeah, some sausage. Ah, and of course a nice tall glass of milk. No wait, not just milk. Chocolate milk.” Ok, so the milk and chocolate milk are interchangeable. I just like chocolate milk when I eat a big breakfast. It has that much more flavor and tastes better. But no matter what kind of milk you want, the entire platter is exciting. And so you make it and the feasting begins.
The 2008-2009 West Chester University Women’s Basketball team is getting ready for their huge breakfast. They already have it cooking after they pounded Lock Haven 88-71 to open up their season. Dana Weems was the lead chef as she knocked down 23 points and picked up 17 rebounds as that double-double powered the team to a victory.
Next up on the schedule is Columbia Union, a team the Lady Rams romped last year by 20.
Normally in college basketball, the powerhouses play some lighter teams so they can work out the kinks and get everything in order for when the conference opponents begin to line up. This year should be no different.
The Lock Haven team the women played had only seven wins from a year ago. While they do reside in the PSAC West division, and it is not every year that the Lady Rams play a PSAC team to open up their season, it was not the most formidable foe that they will see all year.
That title should wind up being one of four possible opponents should everything go according to plan. Those four teams are California University, Indiana University, Millersville University, and Shippensburg University. Of course, Shippensburg was moved from the PSAC West division to the East this year as a couple new teams added to the conference caused some slight realignment. Nonetheless, the Lady Rams will need these earlier games to get everything in order before the bullies on the block have their turn on the schedule.
The big four teams the Lady Rams will face promise to provide four of the most challenging contests for the team all season, regardless of who wins the match up. But those games are the lunch (Cal and IUP each once) and dinner (Millersville twice, Shippensburg twice). Breakfast has still not yet fully been served. But the ingredients are in place and ready to be cooked.
For the West Chester women’s basketball team to be successful, I have devised a recipe for success that will have to be cooked for breakfast and served on the go for lunch and dinner.
1. Surviving the cold Winters. With Natalie Winters out for the year, the team loses a three year starter, an on and off the court leader, and an incredible player. While the team has skill and talent at the position Winters leaves vacated, her experience will undoubtedly be missed at that particular position when it comes to the games. But she will be there to support and guide her teammates throughout the course of the season, good or bad.
2. The Garber Identity. Much like Jason Bourne, Janelle Garber has to find out exactly who she is and what she is made of. She is the co-captain and on the court will be the captain as this is her third-year on the team. She was tutored by West Chester standouts Dominique Lewis (Big Dom) and Katie Kline (Katie K). She has the ability and mind set to play on the inside at this level of basketball. Now she needs to lead her teammates against not only the aforementioned bullies, but against the rest of the PSAC and deep into the playoffs.
3. Death, taxes and great Dana Weems basketball. Those are the three promises in life. Whether it’s a double-double to open the season, making a lay up with only one working shoulder, or raising both arms in triumph after a huge playoff win at home, Weems brings an energy to the court that excites all who witness it. Weems was asked last year to fill the void Kline left on the court and will be asked to do the same thing again with Winters out. After being awarded PSAC East Player of the Year after only one year of Lady Rams basketball, year two could be even better. Uh-oh!
4. A hot season is Stew-ing. Megan Stewart won PSAC East Rookie of the Year for the 2007-2008 campaign. She will need an encore performance and then some if the Lady Rams are to continue to climb the ladder of success year in and year out. Stewart is the ultimate clutch performer. Her composure defies her age and her skills far outweigh her short stature, at least by basketball standards. In her second year, the most unselfish player you will ever see (as evidenced by her all-time school record for assists in a season in year one) is ready to take the team to new heights.
5. Neal down and be knighted. Renata Neal is as gifted an athlete as you may ever see. Despite her tall frame, she has great speed and quickness. Her hands constantly improving and her strength for the inside play about to blast off, Neal is ready to become a superstar. She will be looked upon to provide quality minutes and during her time in the game, rack up the rebounds and soak up the points.
6. What the Hoss? Allison Hostetter is on pace to be the next big thing here at West Chester University. Her skills are talked about like she is already the best player since Michael Jordan. Ok, while that might be a little premature, she is being hyped up by her teammates and coaches as being able to put on quite the show. Next stop on her tour: the purple and gold fan base!
7. The Carlin bunny just keeps going and going and going… Bridget Carlin is always on the go. She has homework to do. She has to go eat. She has practice. She has a game. It seems the only time she makes for her friends and family is for them to watch her sleep because you can not seem to catch her anywhere else. Alright, that is not true, but you get the point. Carlin is always energizing the place she is in and that intensity and excitement translates to the 5’4″ player making some 5’8″ players look pathetic when she jumps HIGHER than they do. To sum her up, she’s Carlin, Bridget Carlin.
8. Serr, Serra, Serratell, Serratelli! Mary Kate Serratelli just may have the most complex name on this team. But her game is simple. That’s right, it is short, sweet and to the point. She can dominate inside using her strength. Or she can snipe from afar and knock down a three. It has also been said that MK can leap over a building in a single bound. Or is that Superman? Eh, I do not know. They can each do it all!
There it is. Breakfast is served, and on a silver platter too. The players are set. The schedule is moving. It is time to eat a hearty breakfast and then get ready for lunch and dinner. Before long the PSAC schedule will start up and the bullies will be ready to pick on the little tikes. In sports or in the school yard, defying the odds and beating the crap out of the bully is always fun. But for now, we get to be the bully for the breakfast part of the schedule. After all, you may need a bit of bully in you to take down the real ones. But don’t worry. As long as you are nice to the Lady Rams, they shouldn’t bully YOU around.
Mike Heiman is a fourth-year student majoring in elementary education with a minor in literacy. He can be reached at MH606613@wcupa.edu.