It has been a busy week on the Stetson University campus. Both new and returning students moved into their residence halls, participated in several days of FOCUS events, and have officially begun their fall semester of classes. For the student-athletes on the Stetson women's basketball team, they too experienced the same hectic schedule with the addition of several athletically-related meetings for sports medicine, compliance, academics, and the first official team meeting with the coaching staff.
"They all did a great job getting through their preliminary responsibilities with physicals, class scheduling, and a bunch of different meetings," head coach Lynn Bria said. "They are all excited to be here. Look at Simone, she is like a kid in a candy store."
Bria was referring to Simone Taylor, a redshirt junior who missed most of last season with an injury she suffered early in the year. Taylor was recently cleared medically and was anxious to jump on the court when her small group workout time arrived on Friday afternoon.
"It's refreshing, I am happy to be back playing," Taylor said afterwards. "I missed playing with the team and I really want to help contribute this year."
Also among the other 11 Hatter returners is sophomore Jama Sharp, a Sport Management major and an Atlantic Sun All-Academic selection last year.
"It is exciting to be back and starting a new year," Sharp said. "It is extremely important to get off to a good start in your classes, since at the end of the first semester and for much of the second semester, we will be on the road quite a bit."
Sharp said she and the other returners have been hanging out with the three newcomers on this year's squad, freshmen Amena Brent, Sydni Payne, and ChaRosnese Williams, and everyone seems to be getting along well. But as with most first-year students, the onset of college life for student-athletes requires a lot of discipline right off the bat.
"The biggest adjustment for me has been with my time management, to make sure I have enough time for academics and basketball," Payne said. "I need to make sure I wake up on time, that I have time to eat, and especially that I have time to sleep."
And so for the next several weeks, the Hatters will continue their coursework, their conditioning and weightlifting, their basketball workouts, and perhaps sneak in a nap or two as they prepare for the upcoming 2012-13 season. Coach Bria is looking forward to seeing how all the pieces will fit together.
"We have a lot of returners, and that makes it easier as a coach," Bria said. "The three freshmen have fit right in and adapted well. I feel really good. They have all worked hard over the summer. It's exciting to see."