Women’s Basketball is Back at Columbia

By Nader Ihmoud

Serina Breezer attended Columbia’s women’s basketball meeting mid-afternoon on Sept. 14 to rekindle a lost relationship she had with basketball. Breezer, a senior theater major and 11-year veteran of the sport, has played the game since she was nine—in high school and at Triton Community College—before transferring to Columbia.

“Since this is an art school, I expected no sports, but then I saw that Ulisa [Blakely, captain for the women’s basketball team] posted something, and I got excited,” Breezer said. “It’s something I’ve been playing forever [and] I missed it.”

Four students attended the meeting that took place in the Loft in the 916 S. Wabash Ave. Building.  The meeting was set up to see how many students were interested and what direction the participants want to see the team go in.

“I was happily surprised [by the attendance],” Blakely said. “If four keep showing up at each interest meeting, we will have a [full] team.”

Even with good numbers, the team captain still needs to get consistent attendance from her teammates at practice and games. Blakely hopes they will have a “real” team, with approximately 15 girls, so having legitimate games would be realistic along with subbing players in and out of those games. Two more meetings were held on Sept. 16.

Whether the team gets enough people to make a full team or not, Blakely said she is looking forward to the camaraderie that comes with playing a sport like basketball. She admits she is a competitive person, but notes the friendship gained from playing is just as important as winning.

Blakely said she hopes to begin conditioning as early as this week. While it is not mandatory, she recommends that anyone who wants to participate attends

the workouts.

“Having the stamina, endurance and strength to play through a whole game is really important,” Blakely said.

She will be in charge of tryouts and will be looking for basic basketball fundamentals like passing, shooting and foot work skills, she said.

Tryouts will be held at the outdoor basketball court at Margaret Hie Ding Lin Park, 1735 S. State St.  An exact date is not available at this time.

“[Playing outdoors] could possibl

y affect the player’s ability to perform well,” Blakely said. “You play at your best ability [indoors].”

She went on to say that the conditions of an outdoor court, such as wind or rocks on the ground, can affect an athlete’s play.

The team plans to use the South Loop Elementary gym, 1212 S. Plymouth Court, once the season is underway.  According to Blakely, the gym is not ready for them to use. She was told by Abby Cress, vice president of the Renegades, that the gym will be ready in mid-September.