BY STEPHEN CHOTT
The 2014-15 season was one of the most successful for the Salisbury women’s basketball team, but after losing a majority of their starting lineup they are now trying to repeat success with an inexperienced team.
The team’s current record is 10-8, but head coach Kelly Lewandowski thinks her team’s play for the rest of the season should be improved now that those players have some experience playing together.
“We didn’t have a win/loss goal coming into the season. Our goal was to get people experience and to improve for the second half of the year,” Lewandowski said.
Lewandowski is in her fifth season with Salisbury, and the team has done nothing but improve since she started. Last season the team made it to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament and Lewandowski was named the Capital Athletic Conference Coach of the Year. Lewandowski says the last season was her favorite moment of her Sea Gull career so far.
Before the Elite Eight success and coach of the year awards, Lewandowski was a player at the University of Scranton where she soon fell in love with the idea of coaching. Getting to learn from her coaches was a big reason she wanted to start coaching, which she did first as an assistant at Scranton. Before she got to Salisbury, she was an assistant coach at Gettysburg College for three years.
Lewandowski says that she still draws inspiration from the tactics of her Gettysburg coach, such as how to deal with certain players.
“Different players have different personalities and can’t all be coached the same,” Lewandowski said. “You have to learn how to work with all of them individually.”
Lewandowski also says this is one of the most important things she’s learned from her own players that she’s coached over her career.
Those players have learned a lot from Lewandowski as well. Senior Julia McLaughlin says her work ethic has increased immensely since she first came to Salisbury.
A good work ethic is something Lewandowski expects from all of her players and one of the most important keys to success for her team.
“You need to be fundamentally good on the court but you also need to have heart and really fight for a win,” Lewandowski said. “We’ve played more talented teams but have won because we fought harder.”
Getting players who buy into this idea is something she even looks for in recruiting, which she admits can be hard to spot but by watching them play you can generally see who has it and who doesn’t.
“We’re a team that doesn’t give up,” junior Lauren Rothfeld said.
Although they’ve struggled so far this season, the Sea Gulls still have a lot of games left to fight their way up the CAC standings. Their remaining seven games are all conference matchups, with four of them coming at home.
No matter what the outcome, Lewandowski will have a smile on her face because it’s not about winning, it’s about showing your love for the game.