Women’s basketball hopes to leave a mark in the ODAC

Liz Levey, ‘Doah Staff Writer
November 20, 2013

'Doah photo courtesy of Jessica Richardson

‘Doah photo courtesy of Jessica Richardson

As students scramble into Singleton gym, they are hit with the sounds of balls bouncing up and down the hardwood, the swish of a made basket and plays being called out. Basketball season is upon us.

The Shenandoah University women’s basketball team ended the 2012-2013 season showing the ODAC that S.U. basketball was here to make some noise.

The women’s basketball team had an overall record of 12-15 that landed them sixth in the league and made an appearance in the ODAC semi finals.  On Nov. 7, 2013 the women’s program was seeded eighth in the ODAC women’s basketball preseason coaches poll.

Looking forward to the 2013-2014 season, the Hornets have a fresh outlook in their second season in the ODAC. Head Coach C.K. Calhoun put it best at the ODAC media day: “We made noise in the ODAC now we want to leave a mark.”

Calhoun is now in her second season as head coach of the Hornets program and says, “we have the foundation now to build off of.”  The women’s roster is set with ten players, five returners and five new faces. “We have a good balance of strong returners and newcomers, we all just have to now get on the same page,” stated Calhoun.

The foundation that Calhoun is referring to starts with her two top players on the court: junior Holly Chittenden and senior Crystal Petrus. On Nov. 14, 2013 both these ladies were selected to be captains this season.

Chittenden, a third team All-ODAC award winner last winter, averaged 10.6 points and 8.3 rebounds per contest and turned in eight doubles-doubles- second best in the league.

Petrus lead her team in scoring seven times and included scoring a career-high 31 points. “They always set the tone coming in to practice either leading by example or being vocal on the floor,” said Calhoun.

Calhoun considerably changed her staff over the off-season with the additions of assistant coaches Melissa Kraft and Crystal Williams. Kraft comes from the University of Rochester, making her the seventh full-time assistant coach at Shenandoah and the second in the history of the women’s basketball program. She has,  in Calhoun’s words, ”a great basketball mind.”

Crystal Williams rejoins the Hornets basketball program. Williams played two years at S.U. after transferring from DII Wheeling Jesuit and helped the Hornets to 26 victories during the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons. She started 41 of her 50 games played.

Williams also worked as a graduate assistant in the women’s basketball office at the University of Richmond. There she assisted the coaching staff with video breakdown of opponents and the operations staff.  With these skills, she can give insight to the younger players as well as the returners.

Co-Captain Holly Chittenden explained, “I like having a larger staff, it has helped us practice because there are more eyes on us and have time to work one on one with players.”

Even with the changes that occurred over the off-season, the name of the game is consistency. With the ODAC being a strong conference, the Hornets need to maintain consistency at home as well as on the road.

Last season, the Hornets beat every team above them in the preseason poll except Guilford, Virginia Wesleyan and Eastern Mennonite. The expectations are higher this year as the girls look to compete at an even higher level.

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