Women’s basketball players adapt to American system

By Jonathan Fisher, Staff Writer

Women’s basketball at Robert Morris is different than most universities around the country.  As recruitment days rolls around, each coach signs players from different parts of the world.

Head Coach Sal Buscaglia often searches for overseas talent to succeed in the Northeast Conference.  “We try and find the best talent we can, no matter where they come from,” explained Buscaglia.

“If we feel that we can find talent overseas, and then we will do that.”

He continued by saying, “Over the last few years, we have a really good grapevine to overseas talent.  It’s building and building more.”

The Colonial’s have 13 women on the team and six are from across the Atlantic Ocean.  Sophomore sensation Artemis Spanou is from Greece and senior Mary Durojaye hails from London, England.

Freshman guard Romane Dessacs is from Pechabou, France.  Sophomore guard Josette Campbell is from London, England, while sophomore forward Anna Kavasila is from Greece and Anna Gailite, a junior forward is from Latvia.

“It took me like a month and a half to adjust to this type of play,” said Spanou.  “The style of play is different in both areas. “

Buscaglia prepares them for that struggle with specific drills once practices begin.

“When we first start out, we use up-tempo fast break drills that will get them quickly acquainted to what we do in a five-on five situation,” said Buscaglia.

Also, Buscaglia went on to say, “Many of our drills are fast-paced.  It allows them to adjust and understand.  It’s a mindset.  We sort of raise their mindset by instituting drills early on. “

According to Spanou, Europe plays a slower and more strategic game plan.  As for U.S. basketball, it is more of a run and gun style of play.   Being one year into the the whole program, Spanou had the time to adjust to the system.

“Last year, in our first game, I couldn’t keep up with the faster and stronger women.  We play slower and think more by playing,” explains Spanou.

That situation translated into the season as a whole, for the colonials.  They started off losing five straight games.  However, they went on to win 10 of their next 12.

Last season, the Colonials finished third in the NEC with a 12-6 record in the conference and 16-14 record overall.

Success this season will start and finish from the same player who helped RMU reach the semifinals of last year’s NEC tournament, Spanou.

“Artemis shows leadership through the commitment she makes to basketball.  That is extremely important, as far as the leadership role goes,” Coach Buscaglia said.

Along with Durojaye, expect a very competitive Colonials team this upcoming season.  Both Spanou and Durojaye will contribute points, coming off 13.3 and 10.1 ppg seasons respectively.

This team has a definite advantage over last year’s team going into this season and that is experience.  RMU has two freshmen on the team and that means 11 are returning players.

Buscaglia summed up this upcoming season by saying; “My goal is to get better every day.  If we get better every day, I think we certainly can reach our goals.”