Any opportunity to travel abroad in college is bound to open up your eyes in more ways than one. The Seton Hill University women’s basketball team was able to experience Spain and compete against professional club teams in August. This gave the women a chance to bond with the team and prepare for the upcoming season.
These large trips are common for the smaller teams on campus to go on and are achieved through university funding and team fundraising. Typically, the bigger trips for teams stay inside the country, but this trip is out of the ordinary for a smaller Division II school like SHU. For instance, a large sport such as football or lacrosse would need significant funding to put together a trip like this one considering the size of the roster. However, a roster of about twelve for the basketball team is manageable.
Lindsey Mifsud, a senior leader of the team, described the trip as “an amazing experience,” and one that allowed the team to “bond and get to know everyone better.” This team bonding cannot be overstated in importance, as a family-like environment is an essential part to all great teams.
“We played three games against professional club teams. It was an adjustment playing the European rules, but we adjusted pretty quickly and had some fun, competitive games,” said Mifsud.
From this competition, the team was able to expand their knowledge of the game and get a taste for the “world renowned” sport in a different setting. It also served as the first opportunity for the team to play with the freshmen.
Spain is also quite the place to explore, eat and drink, and the team was able to take full advantage of that aspect when they were in the country. They were able to do everything from touring historical attractions to seeing various cities to enjoying the beautiful beaches. Mifsud commended the team’s anticipation to “soak up the European culture.”
According to Mifsud, the team morale is very high right now after the trip, which is a very opportune time as the women are preparing for another year of competition in the PSAC. Last year the women were able to come away with 12 PSAC wins in the season, but lost early in the PSAC tournament to Edinboro University. However, they did corral some key wins at the end of the season against Mercyhurst University, the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and even tackled Edinboro late in the season.
The women are looking to improve their game and are led by four strong seniors that have impacted the team steadily for the past four years including Alex Hay, Lindsey Mifsud, Halie Torris and Jenna Kaufman. Kaufman has led in points per game for the Griffins for the past two years and averaged a career high 15.2 points per game in the 2016-17 season.
Dedicated to her senior year and putting an emphasis in this preseason, Kaufman hopes to motivate her teammates in the weight room and play as much pick-up basketball as possible. She is really focused on building “team chemistry” and the Spain trip was a great building block for this team aspect. The team will start with their 2017-18 campaign near the end of the fall semester and try to compete for a PSAC championship.