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Trojans women’s basketball: Team looks to develop rookies, change tempo

The SAIT Trojans women’s basketball team will have a new look this season, with a more team-driven offense and the team developing a few talented rookies.

Assistant coach Howie Leong said that the team will be significantly different this year after back-to-back bronze-medal finishes in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC).

Star Trojan Alicia Tan graduated from playing and is now an assistant coach. Leong notes that while the last two teams revolved around her, Tan’s graduation means that the women will have to adapt to a different style.

Instead of one or two players carrying the load of offense, the team will have a more scoring-by-committee approach.

Leong said that the team also needed to work on its defense.

He described the team having tremendous potential but inexperienced at the college level.

 “We’re a quick team, very athletic, but we’re young and we’re just learning to play the college game. If they all buy in, then we will be fine,” said Leong.

Of the five new players on the team, four are rookies, so adapting them to the college game will be a challenge in and of itself.

One rookie in particular, Anegor Wol, drew extraordinary praise from the assistant coach.

“[Wol is] probably one of the most physically talented athletes [we’ve]ever had in the Trojans program.”

However, he cautioned that the 17-year-old Wol is fairly raw. She came to SAIT from a smaller high school in Edmonton, and has “never had a chance to play at this level.”

“She runs like the wind, jumps to the moon, [but] she just has to be taught to play the game Trojans style.” 

Leong described another 17-year-old rookie, point guard Skyler MacDonald, as “[playing] at a high tempo, lots of athletic ability, [but] just needs to learn to be confident with her skills.” 

The team aims to teach these new recruits a new, fast style as well.

“We’d love to have our girls play more of a transition style of game. We’re going to push the ball up the floor, work offensively, and really use our athletic ability to get back and play some tough defense.”

Leong said that the ACAC “will be a tough league” this year.

“Our girls have set some goals this year, [but] every team has a chance to win it all.”

The women’s basketball season started Oct. 12 with the Trojans visiting Briercrest College, the first of three straight games on the road. Their home opener is Friday, Nov. 2, against Ambrose University.

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