Oct. 1, 2012
WEST POINT, N.Y. - With 40 days to go until the first game, the Army women's basketball team conducted its first official practice of the 2012-13 season on Monday afternoon at Christl Arena's freshly redesigned court. The new-look Black Knights are made up predominantly of underclassmen, who were addressed by seventh-year head coach Dave Magarity at the start of the session.
Jen Hazlett, the lone junior on the roster, hit the court first as her teammates trickled in to stretch as a group prior to the arrival of the reenergized coaching staff.
Second-year staffer Colleen Mullen was promoted to associate head coach in the offseason, while 2009 Lafayette graduate Emily Garner was added as an assistant coach. Fifth-year mentor Jason Marshall ran through drills with the players, while fourth-year assistant Erin Mills was en route back to West Point after a weekend of recruiting in the Midwest.
Magarity addressed the squad, which is made up of eight freshmen, six sophomores, one junior and four seniors, emphasizing the importance of taking care of yourself and giving your all at practice.
"We all want to be successful this season, but the bottom line is that we have to get better each and every day and you have to practice that way. From day-to-day, from drill-to-drill, I'm going to push you, I'm going to challenge you, it's nothing personal, and I'm going to expect you to come here and be ready to play and practice as hard as possible every day. That's the most important thing. I want everyone to be successful and achieve the goals you've set for yourselves.
"When you walk through those doors, you have to compartmentalize sometimes. This has got to be your safe haven that you look forward to coming to. We expect you to come here and give us everything you have in the short time that we have you. You have to understand that you're in a different situation than those you compete against. You can't play 24/7 like people on other campuses. You can use that as an excuse, or you can come here and leave everything on the floor. And not in the 28 or 29 games that we play, because you won't get a chance to leave it on the floor in a game if you don't do it in practice."
Coach Magarity wrapped up his pre-practice speech with his quote of the day, care of Oliver Wendell Holmes, former associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. "The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving."
Army, which finished 14-16 last season, hopes the direction it is moving towards is a winning season. The Black Knights last finished over the .500 mark in 2008-09, when they compiled a 19-12 record. Magarity's teams have averaged nearly 17 wins per season as they compete against some of the top opponents not only in the region, but across the country.
The physical part of practice then commenced, as the Black Knights, including senior co-captains Liz Benedict and Kimberlyn Martin, ran through drills.
Army opens its season on Nov. 9 at Wagner, while their first home contest is slated for Nov. 12 against St. Francis (N.Y.).