Sitting down with women’s basketball coach Courtney Gerwing
By Davie Wong, Sports Reporter
It truly has been a year of equality—one up, one down—for the Royals. The women’s soccer team went to Nationals and the men bowed out. The men’s basketball team went 0-5 before picking up wins, and the women have just dominated. Building momentum off of an excellent pre-season, the team has been in the driver’s seat of their own destiny. With only 1 loss in 7 games, the women look poised to be a serious challenge for any team.
The Other Press sat down with head coach Courtney Gerwing to discuss her team’s success to open the season. “6-1 is a great start but we know that it is often a ‘tale of two seasons’ where the second half can be much different than the first. We are working hard to ensure that is not the case this season from a win-loss perspective.”
However, December won’t be a completely quiet month for the ladies. They have a few exhibition games planned to keep the team warm and hopefully build on a few aspects. Although their record is almost spotless, the team has not been without its struggles. Coach Gerwing recognizes that better than anyone. “We have had some offensive struggles in some games that we will be focusing on solving during the break. December gives us a lot of time to study game film and work on weaknesses during practices.”
December also offers a unique opportunity for the team. As the holidays roll right through the season, it gives the team a chance to do some bonding. This bonding has been a key part of Gerwing’s coaching regime and she believes that is has given them an edge of over other teams. “Our team chemistry just continues to get better and better. We really emphasized that in the beginning of the season and do a significant amount of work to ensure that we are all on the same page… Everything the team does, we do together, and I think it builds team chemistry. At the end of the day, that’s the most important thing.” That mentality has really shaped the team over the years. While the focus is on making sure the team works hard and nothing is taken for granted, Gerwing always ensures that the players can enjoy the time that they spend with the team.
Moving forward, the squad will be coming back into the regular season with not much space to move up in the conference, but a lot of space to move down. Although the skill level of the group continues to climb with every passing year, coach Gerwing believes that they’re well prepared for the challenges that lie ahead. “Our team mentality has been about attacking wins and not preventing losses. Our approach ensures we take each game one at a time.”
With every great season, there have always been star players on the squad—players that put in a little extra and push the team farther than thought possible. This year however, proves to be an anomaly. The team currently has more than six different players who have scored into the double digits in different games.
The players’ hard work doesn’t end when they leave the court. Many of the players take on other responsibilities with the team. “Amber Beasley has been a key leader amongst the team. She ensures that everyone is on the same track and has taken steps to develop her leadership skills. Her ability to be analytical also adds invaluable insight to the team,” Gerwing noted about the co-captain.
But Beasley’s contributions don’t just end there. Along with Ellen Fallis, Beasley helps to manage the team’s monthly newsletter which allows them to stay connected with their fan base and alumni. Other members of the team have taken to the cause as well.
Lauren Sollero and Simran Bir manage the team’s social media presence. Their work allows the team to keep their fans up to date and give a unique point of view to the complicated, and sometime hilarious, world of collegiate basketball.
Jettie McLaughlin is the team’s fundraising coordinator. When she isn’t putting in time practicing with the team, she’s off planning and putting together the team’s next fundraising activity. It is thanks to her work coordinating such events during the offseason, that the team managed to obtain new equipment, among other things.
But no great team is without a great coaching roster. When asked about the importance of her coaching team, Gerwing had no hesitations responding, praising her team of coaches for their effort and contributions to the team’s success. “My coaching staff have been huge for myself, and the team. Katja Fuess has been the sole provider of transportation to practice which is massive considering practices are at 6:15 a.m. Both she and Marie-Line Petit has played crucial roles in helping the team and myself prepare for games. Ashley Melvin is our Director of Operations as well as our student trainer. Working alongside Alvin Tseng, the team’s physiotherapist, they have kept the team healthy and work hard to make sure players that are injured, are well taken care of. My life has been made easier by all of the staff and their effort and desire to be a part of this great team.”