After a breakthrough season, the VIU Mariners women find themselves having to start all over, in some ways.
Vancouver Island University’s women’s basketball team will have a new look as the 2012-13 Pacific Western Athletic Association season gets underway this Friday (Nov. 2).
VIU’s women reached the PacWest gold-medal game last winter, but that only means so much, so many months later.
“We have to treat it like a brand-new campaign because we lost so many faces, we’ve got so many new bodies that this is a different team than we had last year,” said Bill McWhinnie, M’s coach. “We can’t really carry on what we were doing, we have to change things a little bit to fit our personnel. So things have been quite new this year.”
VIU is viewing it not so much as a new look, but as a new dynamic.
“I like our team,” said the coach. “I think this is a really close team, we’ve got good chemistry. We’ve added a couple good players, we’ve added some real good team kids and some kids that play really hard. I like the direction we’re going.”
It’s a coachable group, said Bill McWhinnie.
“Everybody’s accepted their new roles and responsibilities with no complaints and with maximum effort,” he said.
The two returning starters are guard Jocelyn Jones and forward Shayna Worthington. Jones takes over as the team’s primary ball handler, a role she is ready for, said the coach. Worthington, meanwhile, will be a force in the paint as always, but the sweet shooter will also be asked to play on the perimeter where she will create matchup problems for opponents.
With Worthington playing more on the outside, there are lots of minutes up for grabs up front. Returnees Alicia Grossi and Jenna Carver will be contributors there, as well as newcomer Chardonnae Mortimer.
Joining Jones in the backcourt will be Heather McCarthy, a veteran who McWhinnie said has worked her way from role player to starter and leader. Returnees Jamie McFarlane and Viv Veerman also had strong off-seasons, he said.
“Where we lack maybe a little bit of skill and talent we had last year, we make up with hard work,” said Worthington.
That’s the only way the team will be able to have the season it’s hoping for.
“All you think about is that last game, what you could have done more. I just want to get to that gold-medal game again,” Worthington said. “Our goals right now are basically to take it one game at a time. Eventually the hard work will pay off.”
GAME ON … The M’s host the Camosun Chargers on Friday (Nov. 2) at 6 p.m. at the VIU gym, before the schools’ men’s teams take the court at 8 p.m. Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for alumni and seniors, $2 for youths and free for VIU students … To read a season preview on the VIU Mariners men’s basketball team, please click here.