On Nov. 7, the Sacred Heart University women’s basketball team opens up their 2022-23 season as they host the University of Hartford at the William H. Pitt Center.
The team has a lot to look forward to this season after adding six new faces to their locker room, two of which are transfers. That does not exclude the returners, who have come back with something to prove.
“Our four freshmen all have come in with versatile skill sets and are excited to make an immediate impact on both our team and in our conference,” said Head Coach Jessica Manetti. “Our two transfers bring a wealth of experience to our program and have already made an impact on the court with their competitive mindset and toughness.”
Manetti believes that these new players will help them improve for the upcoming season, following an underwhelming season last year that saw them finish with a record of 8-17.
“Our new players that we have added have brought a breath of fresh air to our culture and have impacted our competitive level immediately,” said Manetti. “Pairing that with our returners’ motivation will be instrumental in our team’s success in the season ahead.”
The Pioneers were ranked sixth in the Northeast Conference (NEC) preseason poll, after finishing eighth in the conference just a season ago.
“Preseason rankings are nice because it lets you know where the league coaches think you are,” said junior Olivia Tucker. “Our main goal is to win the conference championship, so everything we do in practice and in the weight room is done with that in mind.”
Last season Tucker averaged 9 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1 assist a game, and she was the best three-point shooter in the conference, shooting 44% in NEC play from behind the arc.
“I’ve worked on being more consistent with my three-point shot, but also worked on my mid-range game,” said Tucker. “When you score consistently at all three levels, it makes it difficult for opposing teams to defend.”
Manetti has high praise for her senior guard, who is looking to continue her success this season.
“I have no doubt that OT, as we call her, will continue to compete to keep her reign this season as not only the conference’s best three-point shooter, but as one of the best shooters in the country,” said Manetti.
Tucker is not the only returning standout player for the Pioneers. Senior Carly Stroemel, who has been a force for the Pioneers, is also looking to build off of her success last season.
Stroemel led Sacred Heart with 19 blocks last season, while also averaging 6.7 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.
“Carly has done a tremendous job working on the many facets of her game in the off-season. She is excited to continue to prove that she can be a great impact for us on both sides of the court in the season ahead,” said Manetti.
The Pioneers have a lot to look forward to this season, but one thing in particular is their Florida trip they will be having over the Thanksgiving break for the Florida Atlantic University (FAU) Thanksgiving Tournament.
“I’m really looking forward to our Florida trip over Thanksgiving,” said Tucker. “We play two tough non-conference teams in Butler University and Florida Atlantic University. They will be good early-season tests to see where we are as a team and what we need to work on.”
The Pioneers will begin their season with a three-game homestand opening against Hartford on Nov. 8 before hosting La Salle University on Nov. 10 and Monmouth University on Nov. 13.