Women’s basketball dribbles in to new season

Photo+Courtesy+of+Alexis+Hackett
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Women’s basketball dribbles in to new season

Photo Courtesy of Alexis Hackett

Photo Courtesy of Alexis Hackett

Photo Courtesy of Alexis Hackett

Photo Courtesy of Alexis Hackett

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With their first game rapidly approaching on Nov. 8 versus Keene State College, Suffolk’s women’s basketball team is ready to get their season started.

The team has had two hour practices every day to prepare for the season, and usually has one day off per week for rest and recovery.

Head Coach Ed Leyden characterized the practices as “enthusiastic, competitive and fun.”

“Each day we get better individually and as a team,” said Leyden. “The team comes in every day, works hard, has fun and pushes each other.”

Leyden has been coaching for 38 years, 26 of which have been spent with the women’s basketball team at Suffolk.According to Leyden, the team this year is centering their energy on four main ideals: teamwork, fundamentals, defense and relationships.

Last year’s team had a successful run, finishing with an overall record of 19-8 and making it as far as the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Semifinals. They would drop this game 84-51 to Saint Joseph’s College of Maine.

“We are building a new team, building trust and learning to have faith in one another,” said Leyden. “It takes a while to do this, there will be ups and downs in the season.”

Leyden described the team this year as lively and having a high level of skill.

The Lady Rams have two new captains this season, senior Alexis Hackett and junior Jenni Rose-Dicecco. Both will lead a team that includes four new freshmen and is made up of mostly underclassmen.

Hackett said that has always hoped to hold a leadership role on her team and now she gets to fulfill that.

“[Being a captain] has been good,” said Hackett. “It is a lot of responsibility and there is more to it than just being a role model on the court, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Hackett voiced her excitement for their first game, but also feels that it’s bittersweet since it’s her “last first” game in a Suffolk uniform.

“I love everything there is about basketball, the competitiveness of it and seeing hard work pay off,” said Hackett. “I love my teammates and my coaches, and our little gym in the basement. It’s been the best three, almost four years playing on this team.”

Hackett shared that the team members are all very close and participate in many bonding activities, such as doing fundraisers at Boston College football games, as well as team breakfasts and pizza parties.

“This year we have a great team, a lot of great talent returning and the freshmen have fit right in,” Hackett said. “We all get along really well. We are very supportive of each other and always have one another’s back.”

But Leyden believes the new team is prepared, and is ready to take on any challenge that comes their way. He is “optimistic and positive” moving forward.

“We can’t wait to play,” said Leyden. “The anticipation is really really high. I know we will play defense and share the ball. It will be a long and challenging season but I know we will stick together and have each other’s backs.”

Hackett and Leyden agreed on the team’s main goal this season: to win the GNAC Championship. Leyden also expressed the team’s desire to receive an automatic bid for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament. He said that these goals are “doable and that the team has a great chance of achieving them.”

“We have the ability to win our conference,” said Hackett.

With such upbeat attitudes going into the season, Leyden and Hackett are leading the team in a positive way.

“We would love to have people come out and support,” Leyden said. “If they gave women’s basketball a look, they would see that we play solid and that the girls represent Suffolk well.”

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