From worst to first

The RMU women’s basketball team had one of their worst seasons last year in head coach Sal Buscaglia’s eleven-year tenure in Moon Township.  Injuries killed the squad, forcing them to go with an eight player rotation as their roster for three quarters of the season.

The Colonials ended 2012 with a 7-22 record, finishing tied for ninth in the Northeast Conference. The end result was rather dark, but there were a few bright spots that provided hope for a future of the team.

“We’re very excited about this year, you know, especially if we can stay healthy,” said head coach Sal Buscaglia. “We have some new kids coming in and really solid returners. Once the returners who were injured last year return from their injuries and the new ones get adjusted to Division one basketball, I think it’s going to be a good year. We just have to take it one step at a time.”

Junior forward Artemis Spanou earned conference MVP, after playing a near 40 minutes per game night in and night out. Freshman guard Ashley Ravelli was named conference Rookie of the Year.

Other freshman like Lou Mataly and Randi Jackson were given unique opportunities. Due to the tough roster realities, they were forced to grow up fast, averaging large amounts of minutes per night that the common freshmen aren’t given.

“Those three, especially last year, had to come in as freshman and play a lot of minutes. I think they’ve grown up a lot from that and have showed that on the court this year. We need them, they know that, so I think they’re ready to have good sophomore seasons.”

Through the rough patches that occurred over the 2012 campaign, hope for a brighter future was always in place. The ‘big picture’ had to be remembered, and not the problems that plagued the present.

Those circumstances, along with the addition of five talented freshmen, have propelled the 2013 squad to the top of the conference, as they were voted first in the NEC preseason poll.

“I’m really excited,” said Spanou, who will be called upon to lead the team as one of the three seniors on the roster. “Last year, we seemed to have a pretty good team and came along together. The five new freshman are really good and will really help us.”

Spanou is back. Ravelli, Mataly, and Jackson are back. Stud freshman like Anna Niki Stamalmprou, Janee Brown and Cassie Oursler have joined the squad. The situation surrounding the team has almost made a complete, 360 degree turnaround from a year ago, and it sure is sweet.

“We have a really young team,” added Spanou. “I try to get everyone motived and keep them energetic. Most of all, we want to have fun out there, and enjoy what we’re doing while doing well.”

The 2013-14 addition of the RMU women’s basketball team is fun to watch. They are relatively on the younger side, with four of the five players in the starting lineup being underclassmen. The youth in the starting five has to be remembered, because they are destined to make mistakes. But, those mistakes come on the fly, because the current team prides themselves on hustling, pushing the ball, and playing tough.

The 2013-14 season is sure to have its up and downs. But with a healthy, likeable team this time around, the rollercoaster ride is will definitely be enjoyable.