One of the many challenges presented to collegiate (student) athletes is maintaining a certain grade point average while remaining dedicated to their team. Do you finish your homework or join the team for a workout? Do you have a study session or run through another scrimmage?
Whatever the challenge may be, the Seton Hill University (SHU) women’s basketball team, academically ranked sixth in the nation, remains top of their game.
At the conclusion of the 2011-2012 season, they held an overall grade point average of 3.58. Averages like this have earned them the Division II Academic Top 25 Honor Roll through the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association for the past five consecutive seasons.
Led by head coach Ferne Labati, the team successfully balances their schoolwork with their strenuous workouts and practices, all while ending their previous season in eighth place with an 11-18 record.
“Coach Labati is a great coach who knows exactly how to push her players both on, and off the court,” said Junior guard Paige Alviani. “If the grades aren’t there, neither is basketball.”
Their efforts extend to the community as well. Each team member “adopted” a Sister of Charity from Caritas Christi. In their visits with their “big Sister,” they spend time strolling, playing games, getting to know one another and assisting them. The Sisters’ gratitude is evident as they root for their “little Sisters” in games and prayers.
“When players excel in the classroom, they excel on the court,” said Labati in a press release. “This behavior carries over to their work in the community.”
Last season the team also hosted a Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Night and Breast Cancer Awareness Night. They were able to raise $1,500 for the American Cancer Society.
“Our coaches always stress that to be a good team, we must be scholars and athlete,” said Junior Tiara Stossel. “In this way, we try to excel in the classroom and on the court to make a positive name for Seton Hill and women’s basketball.”
“What I’m trying to create as a coach is the total person concept. You don’t have a team; you have a program,” said Labati in the press release. “A good program wins year in and year out, on and off the court, because of the philosophy of what you’ve done. Team building, strength and conditioning, skills and training…it all makes the total person.”
The team will continue their efforts this season in hopes of winning the last WVIAC Championship opportunity they’ll have before switching to PSAC next season.