Coach inspires program growth

Nickie Morris, Assistant Sports Editor

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This season, women’s basketball already has the most wins they’ve had in one season this decade, according to UVM athletics.

So far, the team is 11-16 with just one regular season game remaining, according to UVM athletics.

Former women’s basketball head coach Chris Day resigned in April 2018, according to a Cynic article from that month.

Since Alisa Kresge was appointed as interim head coach, the women’s basketball team has shifted its philosophy, leading it to success.

She also runs a summer basketball camp at UVM where first through 12th grade girls can learn and improve their basketball skills from Division I players, according to the camp’s website.   

Next season, the team does have six new confirmed recruits that will also start practicing with the other members of the team this summer, Kresge said.

The women’s basketball team will stay in Burlington for most of the summer for training and getting into shape, she said.

Kresge motivates her players during practices, forward Hanna Crymble, a junior, said, and there’s a strong focus on improving the team’s defense.

The results of the upcoming games could put them as high as third place in their America East division, or at worst, in fifth, according to the America East website.

Despite this success, Kresge said that she focuses on the present and extends this view to the rest of the team.

“We’re trying to look at it one day at a time, but of course the playoffs are coming,” Kresge said. “The big thing for us is we’re trying to finish strong, keep confidence going into whatever the situation is and keep getting better until then.”

The Catamounts have won six of their last 10 games, all of which have been against America East conference opponents, according to UVM athletics.

Their remaining game  is against No. 3 Stony Brook University March 2 in Stony Brook, New York, according to UVM athletics.

Despite this upcoming challenging conference game, Kresge said that she is confident and enthusiastic about the UVM women’s basketball program.

“I really like what I’m able to do with our players,” she said. “I think [the players] understand how intense I am on the court and they’re doing all that we ask of them, which is really the best you can ask for.”  

In addition to the higher standard of play, Kresge’s time at the helm has also been highlighted by new hires on the coaching staff.

Assistant coaches TJ Sawyer and Eileen Van Horn were both brought in by Kresge, and Dominique Bryant joined in 2017, while Kresge was an assistant coach.

The all-time leader in assists at Marist College as a player, Kresge came to UVM after assistant coaching there for seven years, according to UVM athletics.

While a senior at Marist University in Poughkeepsie, New York, Kresge and her team made the 2007 NCAA March Madness tournament, losing to the number one seeded University of Tennessee, according to the Marist basketball website.

Crymble has watched Kresge’s transition from assistant coach to head coach and said that she is pleased with the team’s turnaround.

“We’re still really excited about her, she’s a great coach who cares about all of us and she knows how to individualize our practices and push each one of us,” she said. “Spirits are high on our team.”

Guard Josie Larkins, a sophomore, said that she enjoys the overall improvement of the team.

“We’ve just become more confident and we’ve grown as a team,” she said.