Final cuts made, team set

By Nader Ihmoud

The Columbia Renegades women’s basketball team is alive.

Eight girls participated in the women’s basketball tryouts on Oct. 11  at South Loop Elementary School, 1212 S. Plymouth Court, and nine potential players attended the Oct. 12 tryouts, four of whom attended the previous day’s tryout. The team will feature 12 players, and final roster decisions were released on Oct. 15.

Both tryouts had similar turnouts, but the two dates had major differences in organization.

During the tryouts, Ulisa Blakely, the team’s captain, had her potential players do lay-up, dribbling, passing and shooting drills, as well as a short scrimmage. Time restraints during the Oct. 11 tryouts caused the two tryouts to have a different feel, and Blakely admits her lack of preparation was the cause.

The Oct. 11 tryout was scheduled for 9 p.m. but did not start until approximately 9:30 p.m. because Blakely arrived  late after her evening class. An email was sent to players notifying them of the change.

Maya Holt, senior journalism major, was dissatisfied with the quality of the Oct. 11 tryouts.

“If you are trying to assess how someone plays in a scrimmage, you need five players [on each team],” Holt said. “You need someone to run the point [guard position], you need a shooting guard, small forward, power forward and a center.”

Blakely said she was not looking for skill as much as she was looking for leadership, teamwork and interest.  Skill level was last on her list concerning assessment, she said.

The Oct. 12 tryout was far from unorganized, according to Gladys Garcia, freshman fashion studies major, who did not attendthe Oct. 11 tryout.

“She knew what she was doing and [knew] how to explain the drills [well],” Garcia said.

Blakely began tryouts on time on Oct. 12 and started them similarly to the previous day with basic skill drills but had the entire court to work with until she had the women scrimmage. She said the team was not ready to run a full court scrimmage.

As the tryouts continued, the drills became more complex. Blakely  proceeded with the three player weave drill, which is a fast break and passing drill, followed by a defensive drill in which one player attempts to get an open look at the basket while the other defends it to the best of her ability.

Garcia said the team showed great potential at the tryouts on Oct. 12.

“We all bring something different,” said Garcia. “I’m good at defense [and] a lot of people can shoot and play offense.”