Quick passing. Impregnable defense. Lightning speed on offense. These are the key factors that describe our very own Fairfield women’s basketball team, a group of women that are pumped and ready to kick off the 2006-2007 season.

Last year the team was tagged as 4th in the MAAC at the beginning of the season. The women finished with an overall record of 11-18 and 7-11 in the conference.

Although the team felt that they could have done better, they saw the year as a step in the growing and learning process.

Tough competition was found against Canisius and Marist, league powerhouses. Canisius and Marist are expected to be a strong challenge again this year.

Two players who stood out last season were juniors Meka Werts and Sabra Wrice.

Werts and Wrice both had outstanding seasons last year, but still believe that there is room for improvement.

“As a team we could have done better,” said Werts.

However, she has high hopes for the new team.

“We have great team chemistry,” she said. “We’ve learned from our mistakes and are moving forward to better things.”

A big part of the reason why Wrice and Werts are so positive is the incoming members of the class of 2010, including Erin Sheehan, Kendra Hussey, Jill Piacquadio, Stephanie Geehan and Tara Flaherty.

When asked about their own experience as Stag rookies, both Wrice and Werts raved about the awesome welcome they received.

“I was really excited to join,” Werts said. “The coaching staff was great, and there was a real family environment.”

Wrice spoke of the demanding nature of freshman year, saying, “It’s a whole new world. College ball is harder, you need more skills. It’s challenging to adjust, but it’s worth it.”

The intensity of practices is no picnic for the new players. With the help of their older teammates, the girls have managed to step up and make the commitment.

There is a strong family dynamic to the Stags that is apparent immediately.

“We all count on each other,” said Wrice.

Both Wrice and Werts denied feeling any extra burdens to carry the team.

“There’s no pressure,” said Werts. “Everyone has a role. Everyone works hard, and we have great energy.”

Of the freshmen, Werts and Wrice had nothing but good things to say.

“Erin Sheehan has shown very well,” commented Wrice about Sheehan’s performance. Werts mentioned Sheehan’s quiet nature, but also said, “She’s so funny when she opens up.”

Flaherty was also noted as being very strong and contributing much to the team.

“She’s always listening,” said Werts, who also praised Flaherty’s work ethic.

Another player with outstanding work ethic is Hussey, a center.

“She has such unique personality. She’s very outgoing and has great energy,” said Werts.

Geehan, a 6-foot tall forward, was described as reserved but very funny. Last but not least was Piacquadio, a guard from Brewster, N.Y., who was labeled to be, “a real sweetheart” by Werts.

Overall, the rookie Stags were described as “very coachable” and “fit well” with the team according to Werts.

Wrice approved of their confidence on the court, saying, “The freshmen help upperclassmen to improve.”

With a formidable crew of experienced players backed up by five fresh faces, the Stags have nowhere to go but up.

“I have great expectations for this season,” said Werts. “We have a great chance. The freshmen will help us out a lot. They’re a talented group and once they learn the ropes they’ll be able to contribute.”

Wrice said, “We come to work hard. All we need to do is get out there and execute our goals.”

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