Lady Hawks still in 'reconstruction' era

John
John Browne
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Memorial Sea-Hawks' coach Doug Partridge was blunt in his assessment of his team's performance at last week's Atlantic University Sport (AUS) women's basketball semifinals in Cape Breton, but remains optimistic about the team's future.

"As a team, we were disorganized and unfocused," Partridge said of MUN's 77-56 loss to Saint Mary's Huskies.

"We had people who played hard and I think everyone wanted a good result, but until we learn to consistently play with focus and execution, it is hard to point to any one player and say they were solid and someone else wasn't. We were not good as a team, coaches, players ... everyone."

Memorial Sea-Hawks' coach Doug Partridge was blunt in his assessment of his team's performance at last week's Atlantic University Sport (AUS) women's basketball semifinals in Cape Breton, but remains optimistic about the team's future.

"As a team, we were disorganized and unfocused," Partridge said of MUN's 77-56 loss to Saint Mary's Huskies.

"We had people who played hard and I think everyone wanted a good result, but until we learn to consistently play with focus and execution, it is hard to point to any one player and say they were solid and someone else wasn't. We were not good as a team, coaches, players ... everyone."

Saturday's loss to SMU marked the second time in as many years that Memorial entered the AUS tourney as the second seed only to bow out in the semifinal round after having a bye through the quarter-finals. Which begs the question: Is the Lady Hawks; team, as it's currently constructed, positioned to win the big games?

"You are never ready to win the big games until you win the big games and, like Peyton Manning, even when you win the big games, if you lose the next big game, you suddenly aren't ready again," replied Partridge in a roundabout way of answering.

"I never want to see the expectations for the team reduced. People should expect us to be great every year and we should want to be great every year.

"Sometimes you fall. It's the nature of being human. Sometimes when you fall it is hard to get back up, but it also makes it all the more great when you do get back up."

While he wouldn't use the term rebuild, Partridge conceded, "We are reconstructing our program, definitely.

"But as far as rebuild, reload, or whatever, we are constantly building and will be building until the day we win a national championship," he said.

As it stands, only fifth-year player Erin Mullaley won't be back next year with the Sea-Hawks. Other conference teams are likely losing more than one veteran which should help make MUN at least as competitive next year.

"As a team that just went 13-7 and played in an AUS semifinal and is possibly losing only one significant player, I think it gives us the potential to be in an even better position next year if we really want to focus and put everything we have into what we do," said Partridge.

Trying to find those elusive future impact players remains a priority with AUS teams and MUN isn't an exception.

Partridge said while it is "always" important to find and recruit highly-touted high schoolers outside or inside this province, "It just isn't all that easy to do."

In summing up the 2009-10 season, Partridge said, "I thought Erin (Mullaley) had a great fifth year and allowed people to see some things that I have known for a while but others may have missed.

Mullaley was named to the AUS second-team all-star team in her final season. The Freshwater native averaged 9.5 points and 3.6 assists each game and was third in the conference in assist/turnover ratio (1.60 on 72 assists and 45 turnovers).

Overall, said Partridge, "I thought, as a team, we took some real positive steps forward in terms of doing some things the right way.

"We have the potential to be taught a number of important lessons coming out of the playoffs and it will be interesting to see who wants to learn those lessons and who doesn't.

"That, he says, "will determine everything for our future."

jbrowne@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Atlantic University Sport, Sea-Hawks

Geographic location: Cape Breton, Saint Mary, Freshwater

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