Battle Hardened: The Women’s Basketball Seniors

November 6, 2015

Sports Information

Logan Battle sits up straight, smiles, and speaks straightforwardly about her time at Georgetown. A turbulent career has not diminished the senior guard’s candor, nor has it dimmed the hope for any of her teammates.

“We’ve come a long way over these past four years, from changing coaches when we first got in to changing coaches again our sophomore year,” said Battle. “Each one of us has been through something difficult. Each one of us has had some type of surgery, going through the four years.”

The Georgetown women’s basketball team did not find much success last season, finishing 4-27 overall and 2-16 in Big East Conference play. This has largely been attributed to many of the problems Battle described. Along with a plethora of injuries, the Hoyas have dealt with a coaching carousel of sorts, with four head coaches in the last four seasons.

“It was definitely pretty tough,”said senior guard Katie McCormick. “It was tough for my class in specific just because coming in you’re like ‘this is the dream: Georgetown’ and it definitely didn’t pan out like we wanted it.”

Ultimately, though, the Hoyas’ ability to make the best of these situations, from personnel changes to injuries, will determine the success of their season. This year, that flexibility will be largely dependent upon the leadership of the team’s four seniors. Battle, McCormick, Ki-Ke Rafiu and Dominique Vitalis have dealt with these issues since the beginning of their Georgetown careers. They have the perspective to conquer any adversity this year’s schedule has to offer.

“They’ve had the experience on and off the court,” said Georgetown Head Coach Natasha Adair. “Now they’re stronger; now they’re tougher. And they want it. Just their determination now, and their grit in practice and just as a coach– you come in, and they’re already ready.”

Battle feels that her and her teammates are ready to take on the challenge, maintaining that all this turmoil has strengthened the team’s resolve.

“It means that we stuck through it together, that we really had to pull each other along as the years went by,” Battle says.” “The adversity has made us all stronger, in different ways.”

The desire to improve, to finish strong, and to leave a mark on the program is heavily shared throughout the team. “We’re just trying to better the program and leave it in a better shape so the people that come behind us have something to look up to,” Rafiu says. “It means everything to me.”

Rafiu, who has forgone playing on the team due to nagging injuries and who will serve as a player-coach, feels one of the responsibilities of the battle-tested seniors is to help ease the adjustment of the freshmen into the program, laying a foundation for the seasons to come.

“I talk a lot to the freshmen about listening, paying attention to detail,” said Rafiu. “You’re just coming in from high school, star of your team, but it’s a whole different dynamic here. Listening more, that will help you adjust into the team really fast.”

Jasmine Jackson, a fifth-year graduate senior, expanded further on the keys for the newcomers’ success at this level. “Just get up extra shots, get in the gym, work hard,” says Jackson. “And listen. That’s important, as a freshman. Sometimes you think you know it all, but you don’t.”

“[As a freshman] I had a hard time listening to others, but over time, as I’ve matured, I’ve learned,” Jackson said. “Even now, I tell people what to do, but I’m expecting the same thing back.”

Several Hoyas have spoken on their goals for the season, with responses ranging from “playing harder” to being more disciplined. For the outspoken Vitalis though, finishing her Georgetown career strong only means one thing: winning.

“Winning,” says Vitalis firmly. “Winning the championship, going all the way. Being my last year, I do not want to see it end. Staying together, staying positive, and just finishing strong.”

Vitalis points to the new defense coupled with togetherness and consistency as attributes that will elevate the team to a new level this year. And of course, there is no shortage of confidence.

“We have a new defense called the pack defense which kind of puts everything into perspective, because it focuses on coming together as a team, finishing together, and having each other’s backs,” said Vitalis. “We have to be the same team throughout, from the beginning to the end.”

For Adair, the collective experience of her squad can only bolster its prospects.

“Experience is the best teacher.”

Santul Nerkar
Santul is the Voice's former executive culture editor and Halftime Sports editor. Follow him on Twitter @SantulN to become one of his rare few followers.


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