Women’s Basketball Preview: Young but determined


Photo credit/ Mandatory Credit: Jim O'Connor-NJ Sport Pics

Dec 3, 2014; Scranton, PA, USA; NCAA Women’s Basketball – Marywood vs Rosemont. Alexa Gerchman.

John Ferraro, Sports Editor

The women’s basketball team may be one of the school’s youngest teams in recent years, but they are determined to fight their way back to the playoffs for the eighth consecutive season.

Last season, the Pacers were sent home in a first round loss to Keystone College. The team also lost its leading scorer Danielle Terranella, who averaged 11.4 points a game.

This is not the biggest challenge facing Tara Macciocco as she enters her twelfth season as head coach of the Pacers.

According to Macciocco, the team’s youth combined with the players’ lack of height are the two biggest hurdles they will face throughout the season. “Our biggest obstacle is definitely our youth and height. We are a much smaller team, but we are a lot faster than last year. And we are a less experienced team,” she said.

Furthermore, Macciocco does not know who will take Terranella’s place as the leading scorer on the team. “We don’t have that go-to scorer yet, losing Danielle Terranella. So, I think developing that is going to take some time.”

One of the players that could potentially take that role is Alexa Gerchman, a senior exercise science major.

“I definitely see myself in the leadership position just because I have been here the last four years. My other seniors are very helpful in their own way. But, I like to be the vocal leader because I’ve been in that position before as a senior in high school,” said Gerchman.

Gerchman said communication is probably her biggest skill on the court as well. “I try to keep everybody in check while the game is going on. People get frustrated. I’m the one that calms them down, pulls them away and talks to them.”

Macciocco echoed Gerchman’s comments and is looking for her to be more aggressive with her play on the court. “I think in terms of the play on the court, Alexa is the player to look out for. She is much more aggressive at both ends of the floor as well,” said Macciocco.

Being more active on the offensive end is something that Gerchman, who averaged 5.2 points a game last year, is looking to do.

“I think I need to score more. We lost a lot of scoring last year, and I think I need to step up my game in that aspect. I can’t force shots but I have to be more willing to take open shots,” said Gerchman.

In addition to the senior leadership from Gerchman, Macciocco is looking for big things from an incoming freshman. “A newcomer to look out for is Gabby Giordano. She is going to be outstanding for us,” said Macciocco. Giordano was the leading scorer for Holy Cross High School in her senior season.

Even with the high hopes for these two players, Macciocco admits that this is going to be one of the toughest challenges in her 12 years coaching Marywood basketball. She compared this season’s young team to her third season of coaching.

“I think it was the third year I was here at Marywood we brought in 12 freshmen.” Macciocco continued, “I would say the difference with this group of freshmen is their basketball knowledge is a little bit higher. But the biggest challenge is constant repetitiveness in drills and system.”

Macciocco talked further about coaching a young team. “We need to be patient because of the youth. With eight freshmen, you are going to have your really good days and really bad days, until they start to play more consistently and they are no longer freshmen.”

With the influx of young players, Macciocco is looking to implement a different style of play than Pacer fans are used to seeing. “We are a completely different team from last year. We are going to move the ball a lot faster.”

Because the Colonial States Athletic Conference (CSAC) is very competitive, with teams such as Cabrini, Gwynedd Mercy, and Keystone, Macciocco knows her team has to take it one game at a time.

“We always set our goals and expectations high. But, I do think we have to go one day at a time. That is what the coaching staff has been preaching so far,” said Macciocco.

The main point Macciocco stressed to her team is to learn to adapt. “I think the message is that we need to learn how to play within our system, buying in to that system, and coming into a much more physical college game than in high school,” said Macciocco.

The Pacers’ regular season begins at home against Wilkes University on Nov. 30.

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