With new coach, Lions limp out of the gate

by Beacon Staff • December 5, 2007

"We were abysmal in both games in every aspect of the game," said Coach William Gould. "Not a single player played at the level I think they are capable of playing, and they need to do better.,It is something of a miracle that the Emerson women's basketball team has a winning record. Based on the team's play so far, things could be a lot worse.

"We were abysmal in both games in every aspect of the game," said Coach William Gould. "Not a single player played at the level I think they are capable of playing, and they need to do better."

He did not pass on all the blame, however, admitting to coaching errors in preparation as well as during the game, which he plans on addressing.

Last week's 54-43 victory over MIT on Nov. 29 served more as an indictment of MIT than anything positive for the Lions. The team was unable to break out against the weaker opponent until a jump shot by sophomore Alleigh Marre started a 9-0 run in the second half. Even the team's last-minute offensive streak was overshadowed by the Lion's inability to score a single point in the last four minutes of the game.

"We were lucky," said junior captain and marketing communication major Maude Okrah. "We went off pure talent rather than execution."

Little of that talent was on display during the team's second game of the week, played at Wellesley College Dec. 1. The Lions managed to shoot just 24 percent from the field and 16 percent from behind the three-point arc.

Still, the Lions found themselves up 48-46 with a minute left in the contest, but two turnovers allowed Wellesley to come from behind and steal the victory, 50-48.

"We didn't play with heart or discipline," Okrah said. "You can't expect to win when you shoot as poorly as we did."

Okrah said some of the team's early struggles stem from the addition of a new coach. The team was aware of the staffing change before the season began, but the transition is taking much longer than anticipated. The Lions still have not managed to hit their stride.

"The adjustment is still ongoing, and it is clearly not where it needs to be," said Gould. "We have addressed this as a team and I think we are moving in the right direction."

Gould comes to Emerson after spending the past two seasons as an assistant coach at Bentley College, and has experience working for Boston College and Stonehill College. During his eight years at Boston College, the Eagles went to three Sweet Sixteens and won the Big East Tournament Championship.

Although the coach's pedigree is impressive, his challenge lies in getting the girls to support and believe in him.

"All the teams I have worked with had common traits: work ethic, selflessness, positive attitude and a desire to win," Gould said. "I'm trying to instill those same traits here at Emerson."

The adjustment must come not only from Gould, but from his players as well. In order for Gould to have a successful career with the Lions, his players will need to buy into what he is teaching them.

Senior guard Lindsay DeStefano said the women are slowly learning to trust Gould's judgment with each passing game.

"It will take a couple of games for all the kinks to work out, but we'll get there," the broadcast journalism major said. "He's doing a good job with us."

Although the team still rebuilding around their new coach, Okrah said that the struggles will pass and the team will improve.

"The future looks promising," she said. "Every season there are obstacles, and the team just needs to decide to work together to overcome them."