Play your heart out

Jan 24 • Brandon Jaces, Opinion, Women's Basketball • 1331

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Despite playing its collective hearts out every game, the Gannon University women’s basketball team has not had luck on its side this season.
Currently, the Knights are 4-15 overall, and those 15 losses are as many as any Gannon team has had in more than 20 years. Back in the 1995-96 season the team was 8-17 and in 2005-06, the Knights went 14-15.
I’m not trying to bash the team or anyone involved. However, I am inclined to believe that some people and fans are curious as to what has been going on.
I mean, just two years ago the women were 21-8 and a year before that they were 28-4. So what’s happened this year?
One key factor is the loss of some senior talent and leadership. Morgan Neighbors and Amanda Berchtold were always key players during the 2015-16 season. On top of that, the duo provided a lot of team chemistry on and off the court. The loss of Brie Brennan has also hurt the team.
Now, I 100 percent believe that the reason behind the team’s current record is not due to lack of talent. The new recruiting class, returnees and the leadership of Lanise Saunders dominating the boards means that a lot of talent can take the court at any one time, but Saunders is the team’s only senior and Gannon also features just one junior, in Maggie Mitchell.
Despite having some big losses, Gannon has had some close defeats as well. The Knights’ losses against Lock Haven, Clarion and Mansfield came by a combined margin of 14 points.
Those were the closest losses but the ladies have had other close games.
So, it still begs the question, what is going on? As a former athlete, I realize that teams have good years and bad years, no matter how well the players and chemistry are. Maybe that is the situation the Knights are currently facing.
Sports are unpredictable, but one thing is for sure, just like the economy — it’s going to hit an upswing.
Just look at the Cleveland Indians, the Chicago Cubs or even the Atlanta Falcons, who haven’t been to the Super Bowl since 1999 but are going back this year.
Another team to look at is Gannon’s men’s basketball team, which just last season had a 7-19 record. Right now coach John Reilly’s team is 12-5 overall, with only four returners.
Many things go into making a successful season and a little bit of that is luck. However, there’s no question the players and coaches are putting in hours of hard work on and off the court trying their best for success.
Don’t get down on your Knights. You never know when it will turn around and there’s still time – nine games remain. Stick with them and appreciate all the work they’re doing.
Good luck the rest of the season and keep giving it your all because you might be upset about the losses but you’ll be more upset if you don’t play your hardest for yourself, your team and the fans.

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