Similar to Head Coach Sydney Johnson and the men’s basketball team, Head Coach Joe Frager and the women’s basketball team suffered a similar fate last season of falling in the first round of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament. After clinching the third best record in the MAAC, Frager and his girls seemed primed to make a legitimate run in the tournament.
“It was disappointing, no doubt,” said Frager. “Going into that, I knew that just because we were a three [seed], it’s just all about matchups. So, yes it was disappointing, but I’m also [sweet] tempered by what I thought was overall a great year.”
Coming into the 2014-2015 campaign, Frager will be playing without five seniors who graduated, three of whom were starters and serious role players for the team.
“We don’t have those defined go-to players like Katie Cizynski ‘14 and players like that in the past, but I’m looking forward to this team having better depth,” said Frager. “Realistically, I’m hoping that this team can hit its stride in the second half of the season.”
Two of the players that Frager will surely look to will be Co-captains Felicia DaCruz ‘15 and Kristin Schatzlein ‘16. Both figured heavily in Frager’s starting rotation last year and were instrumental to the team’s success aside from the seniors. As far as DaCruz goes, Frager is looking for her to replicate her spectacular junior season in which she ranked fourth in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio.
“Felicia’s been through it,” said Frager. “She knows what the long haul of a season’s all about — playing on the road, playing in postseason — she’s got that experience. The most important thing is she just needs to be herself and not try to do too much.”
Similarly, he looks to Schatzlein as a captain because of the experience she’s gained over her first two seasons.
“Kristin’s really coming into her own now and she’s always been somebody who’s led by example,” said Frager. “Her challenge now is to become a little bit more vocal which isn’t an easy thing for her because she’s not a real outspoken person. But I think she’ll do a fine job.”
Aside from the captains, Frager now has a few transfer players who will finally be eligible to play for Fairfield; Margeaux Dupuy ‘16 and Casey Smith ‘17. Also, Samantha Cooper ‘18 will finally be able to get some steady playtime after sitting most of last year out with a knee injury. With these technically being first-year players, Frager will look to implement them into his system and hopefully fill the voids that exist on the court.
However, Frager will be looking to more than just the transfer students to get playing time. He expects much from the six freshmen and nine sophomores that comprise the underclassmen on this team.
“We have a lot of first-year players that we have to get blended in and ready to go,” said Frager. “I think we’re going to be playing some freshmen and sophomores this year, no doubt.”
Yet, so far, he feels confident about the team that he has and is enthusiastic to watch them work on and off the court.
However, the freshmen of the team will have to gain experience in Frager’s helm to become better accustomed to playing at Fairfield.