The Lady Knights will have the worst record in the school’s history if they fail to win one out of their remaining five games, but the women’s basketball team and head coach believe they have a foundation for future success.
After Saturday’s loss to the University of the District of Columbia, 72-48, the team is winless in 10 tries against East Coast Conference foes, and has an overall record of 1-19. This is also the first year since their 1999 season that the team will not make it to the playoffs.
“I’m bringing a new culture, a new attitude to the program,” head coach Bet Naumovski said. “You’re going to come, you’re going to fight, you’re going to compete and you’re going to represent Queens College to the best of your ability. I think in terms of setting a foundation we’ve done a good job. There’s not a lot we could have done different, we did the best with the cards that were given to us.”
As Naumovski, a previous assistant women’s basketball coach at Binghamton University, juggles a new environment and new team, laying new rules and roles, she also has an $8 million lawsuit that she filed against Binghamton Universityon Sept. 15, 2011.
Naumovski alleged she was a victim of sexual discrimination during her employment at BU, along with suffering both physical and emotional damage due to a hostile environment created by colleagues’ rumors. The rumors regarded an affair she was thought to have had with an adult female student, according to Pipe Dream, BU’s student publication.
She claimed that she was treated differently by the University employees. The employees told students that Naumovski would be “watched,” reported Pipe Dreams.
BU Athletic Director Jim Norris, women’s basketball head coach Nicole Scholl, BU and SUNY, were all named as defendants in the lawsuit, according to Pipe Dreams. According to the suit, Norris admitted that he knew the rumors were false and told Naumovski not to worry, but he took no significant or corrective action.
Naumovski was laid off on March 9, 2010. Norris allegedly announced to staff, players and players’ families that she was terminated “because of complaints of sexual misconduct with a student,” according to Pipe Dreams. Naumovski is looking for $3 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages.
“My goal has always been to work in the NCAA, so the opportunity to get my foot in the door at a Division I institution was a great opportunity. I think I did the best with that opportunity,” Naumovski said. “At the end of the day that experience has made me a better coach, so I’m not regretful of the opportunity because I’ve taken a lesson to learn from that personally and professionally. I think I’m a better person and coach for it.”
Naumovski,QCand BU declined to provide further comment regarding the lawsuit.
Despite the rumors and the ongoing lawsuit, Naumovski was hired in August 2011 by former interim Athletic Director Brian DeMasters and was welcomed by the Lady Knights.
“She was the first female coach I’ve ever had and I had the same expectations as if she was a man,” said sophomore captain Nicole Caggiano. “The first time I met her I knew she was about what she said. She’s a woman of her word and she’s all about winning.”
Both Caggiano and Naumovski believe the team will do much better next season with the new foundation and expectations set in place.
“I can’t lie; I’m disappointed [with the results of the season so far] because I’m such a competitor and I want to win every game, but at the end of the day if you know you’re working hard and doing what you can it’s hard to be disappointed,” Caggiano said. “My goal is to make it to .500 next year.”
Naumovski was not given much of a preseason to prepare, but hopes that the upcoming offseason will aid the players accomplish their next goals.
“This year was about establishing the foundation but next year it’s about competing,” Naumovski said. “Now that the foundation has been established, the win-loss record has to improve.”