TELEGRAM: Greyhound women's basketball ready to be an elite team!November 4, 2007
By Kevin O'Malley
Worcester Telegram & Gazette Correspondent
WORCESTER- To say that the Assumption College women's basketball team has high expectations is like saying Charles Dickens wrote a book. The Greyhounds actually are hoping to make this season even more memorable than a Dickens masterpiece.
"I think we are really excited about the season," coach Kerry Phayre said. "We have a lot of people coming back. We have all of our leading scorers, our leading rebounder, and four of our five starters, so I think the goals are very high."
Those goals include winning the Northeast-10 Conference and earning an NCAA Division 2 tournament bid.
"In this conference, it's real competitive to do that," Phayre said, "but certainly we want to get back to being one of the elite teams in the conference."
Assumption is so excited about the season that it decided to take part in the Disney Tip-Off Classic, an elite Division 2 tournament this weekend in Orlando, Fla. After a season-opening loss to Indiana (Pa.) on Friday, the Greyhounds rebounded to defeat Upper Iowa yesterday.
"This was the year, if we were going to go, with so many returning players, with the crew we have coming back," Phayre said. "It's a great tournament. They take eight teams from different regions so you get to play people from all over the country."
Phayre hopes the experience of playing against the best will serve the Greyhounds well if they are to reach their goal of playing in the postseason. Assumption hasn't reached the NCAAs since 2001-02 when it went 20-9 and finished second in the NEľ10. Since then, the Greyhounds have finished no better than sixth in the conference, going 13-16 last season, good for ninth a second straight year.
"I think we were disappointed with that," Phayre said. "I think the upperclassmen that we have on the team, the juniors and the seniors, are really looking forward to this season. The seniors certainly want to go out on a much higher note."
Senior captain Charde Floyd definitely does, and also understands that to do so will take a consistent effort from the opening tip until the final buzzer of the NE-10 playoffs.
"As a team, our goal is just playing together consistently throughout the whole season," said Floyd, a former Worcester Academy star, who needs two points and 173 rebounds to become the fourth Greyhound to reach 1,000 in both categories. Floyd had 23 points and 20 rebounds in Assumption's first two games. The Greyhounds play Lander (S.C.) at noon today.
"Basically, our season last year was kind of up and down whereas this year we're just trying to keep it one momentum," Floyd said. "I just want to play and have fun. Being my senior year, I look at this year - basically every practice, every game - playing like it's my last."
Phayre is certainly not looking forward to seeing Floyd play her final game. The coach relies on the two-year captain to bring an element of toughness to the team.
"I think Charde is the ultimate leader by example," Phayre said. "She just gives 100 percent in practice and in games and she is one of those players that has all the intangibles. She is the most aggressive player I've ever coached in my entire career. She brings a real physicalness to our team and a real toughness."
Floyd has taken freshman forward Pam Mobley, a former standout at Doherty High, under her wing, and the team would be well served if the newest Greyhound follows in her footsteps.
"I think Pam has a tremendous amount of athletic ability and just raw talent, and I think for Pam it's just adjusting to the college game and the physical nature of the game and just making that typical adjustment to college," Phayre said.
Floyd is looking forward to helping with that adjustment.
"Coming in my freshman year, I always had someone older, a junior or senior forward, to help me out," Floyd said. "Now it's my turn to help her. She's the only freshman post we have, so she looks to me for guidance."
"Being a freshman, it's so different from high school, a lot harder, a lot more intense, and it's so much faster than anything I've ever done before, even AAU," Mobley said. "This is definitely the next level. There is a lot to learn and I have a lot of work to do."