Lady Knights fall in ECC semifinals, still have season success

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Despite losing to the University of the District of Columbia in the semifinals on March 6, the Queens College women’s basketball team has had plenty of success under their belt this season.

One of head coach Bet Naumovski’s goals for this season was to make it further in the playoffs than in 2012-2013. Last season the team lost to The University of Bridgeport in the quarterfinals.

“This season my personal goal was to at least make it one game further than we did last year in the playoffs,” Naumovski said.

From there, she hoped that the team would at least step a foot in the right direction and with Naumovski’s help they did.

With an overall record of 20-8 and an East Coast Conference record of 15-5, the Lady Knights finished the regular season by placing third in the conference after Long Island University Post and UDC.

With that standing, on Martch 4 the team faced Dowling at home and beat them 76-64.

“I’ve always believed that we are contenders for the conference championship,” Naumovski said.

The 2012-2013 ECC Coach of the Year states that her team this season had major differences than last. The roster is more in depth with 11 bodies being able to play in games as opposed to last season where a lot of the players suffered injuries.

This season’s players are more talented as a whole as opposed to last season where there were a few individual talents. Team chemistry is not just displayed on the court, but off the court as well.

This year Naumovski didn’t have to teach her players what a winning culture was, whereas her first season as head coach, she had to spent most of her time building that tradition.

“I think every year that you’re in a school or at a program longer, you kind of build some tradition, so you’re not teaching people what a culture of success looks like, feels like and sounds like… How do we talk to each other, how do we uphold ourselves as we’re walking around so there’s a lot less of that which is great,” she said.

The team is young, no one on the team has played for more than two seasons in this program and plenty of the leadership roles relied heavily on the sophomores, who Naumovski believes have potential to be great leaders, but are just not ready yet. A major weakness was not having a strong upperclassmen leadership role.

“The games that I think we’ve played the poorest in, that lack of leadership is usually what becomes glaring in our youth, definitely shows in those moments,” Naumovski said.

A major strength of the team is that they believe they can and should win every game.

“We do believe that we should win every game so we tend to be very focused on [a mentality of] ‘we know we could do it, let’s just get it done,’” Naumovski said.

But with that she wished that her team celebrated a bit more and savored the winning games.

“It’s still a win, every opponent is a tough one so I actually wished that they celebrated a bit more [during the season] because they’re so focused on that last prize, but they could have celebrated a bit of the individual achievements a bit more,” Naumovski said.

The team has many accolades to celebrate despite not winning the championship. MacKenzie Rowland earned all-ECC Second Team honors, while her sister Madison received ECC Rookie of the Year, ECC Defensive Player of the Year and All-ECC First Team.

The team is also currently ranked number nine in the East Region.

“It’s a huge accomplishment to be Top 10 in the region, which is three conferences, roughly 40 teams, when two years ago we only won one game. So, to have that level of success and get national recognition in two years is a great accomplishment and a great credit to our players,” Naumovski said.

“I’m very grateful for and very blessed to have some very great, talented players and people of strong character, who bought into a coach who had one win…I’m very lucky.”

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