Women’s basketball seeks ambitious and improved 2012

 

Pioneer women’s basketball has been under construction under the guidance of second year head coach Jason Mishler,  but it is no secret that women’s basketball has improved immensely.

Going from a record of 8-22 in its 2010-11 season to a 12-15 record in 2011-12, Mishler, along with his dedicated players, have made a  remarkable transformation, and they  only hope for the same kind of progress this upcoming winter season.

“I think we are going to be a much better team on the court,” Mishler said. “Record wise, I don’t really have expectations because we don’t really know what we are getting into, but from a playing standpoint I expect us to be much better.”

Sophomore guard Selana Reale leads the fast break against a Walsh defender in the Pioneers annual Mayor’s Cup rivalry game Jan. 29 2012. Reale is one of the sophomores Mishler expects to take on a larger leadership role this year. (Photo courtesy of Andy Smith)

The unknown

It is no secret that Pioneer athletics have discovered the unknown, aggressive competition this year facing against GLIAC teams, and it is no different for what women’s basketball will face this winter season.

Playing a tough, full GLIAC schedule, Pioneer women’s basketball prepares itself for the unknown challenge.

“We aren’t really sure what the competition feels like,” Mishler said. “We’ve seen it but we have never played a full GLIAC schedule and this year’s schedule is a lot tougher but that is something that we want and that is something that we expect.”

Despite the uncertainty for this year’s schedule, Pioneer women’s basketball looks forward to the growth and change that it will bring on the court this season.

“We’ve added some athleticism to our program with our freshmen and some transfer students,” Mishler said. “Also, I think we have matured over the past year. All of our sophomores have really stepped up this year and we are looking at them for that leadership.”

With a year of growing pains and acclimating to the program, Mishler shared how his women athletes, such as sophomore guard Selana Reale, have grown into leaders on the team.

“Last year coming in as a freshman, I didn’t really know what to expect,” Reale said. “A lot of us didn’t, so this year coming back, we all realized that coach was going to have us the next three years so we all developed this mind-set that this is our team and this is how we want to run it.”

From nobody to somebody

[pullquote]”From a coaching standpoint, our goal in the future is to play in a setting like The Q,” Mishler said. “It is definitely a different setting to play at and that is why we are doing it this year, because we want get our players used to that field and get them comfortable playing in that atmosphere.”[/pullquote]

From playing in a small, compacted gym to a spacious size arena such as the Cavaliers’ Quicken Loans Arena, Pioneer women’s basketball looks to go from being no one to someone in the next couple of years.

“We are looking at the season as being a ‘two year season’,” Reale said. “This year is going to be the building process for next year. Next year we want to be able to contend for the national championship, so we are just building on that and getting a feeling for things this year.”

Through a “two-year season” and making big adjustments to playing fields, the women’s basketball team will take their first step to the “big show” playing at The Q.

“We actually played a practice there last year before a Cavs game,” Reale said. “Last year we talked about playing a game there this season and the coaches made it happen. We are really excited about that and the Cavs play after us so we will get to stay and watch the game.”

“From a coaching standpoint, our goal in the future is to play in a setting like The Q,” Mishler said. “It is definitely a different setting to play at and that is why we are doing it this year, because we want get our players used to that field and get them comfortable playing in that atmosphere.”

Determined and ready to take action to its program, Pioneer women’s basketball hopes to build on every year and eventually have the chance for a national championship.

“We want to start going from nobody to upstart,” Mishler said. “We want to start creating that feeling that we are going to take every year and build on it. We relish the fact that we are nobody, and that they look at us as nobody and we want to come out of this season as someone they do look at and notice.”

What’s next

Through big changes from coaches, attitudes and conference competition, Pioneer women’s basketball will continue its journey on becoming a contending women’s basketball program.

Pioneer women’s basketball will enter its season full of heart and determination as it opens with the first game this Saturday Nov. 10 at Ursuline College. Tip off is at 2:00 p.m.

Tina Oprean is a sports staff writer for The Aviso AVW.

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