With an overall record of 8-12 and a final game that could potentially be played in Colorado if certain games are won, Senior UD basketball player, Michelle DeCoud, is doing everything she can on and off the court to build team morale and make her last season count.
The UD women’s basketball team has had a rather difficult time with coach turnovers. DeCoud has had three coaches in the last four years. Her sophomore and junior year, the team was coached by Greta Grothe.
“After school ended, we were under the impression that Greta Grothe was going to continue to be our coach,” DeCoud said. “It wasn’t until midsummer that she contacted most of us and said she wasn’t coming back.”
Grothe’s sudden departure from UD left DeCoud and other senior basketball players concerned as to whether or not they would even be able to play another season.
“Helen [Onyenso] and I were in contact with Dick [Strockbine], the athletics director, and would ask him how the search for a new coach was going,” DeCoud said. “He kept us in the loop and hoped to find someone before school started.”
A few weeks before school began, that’s exactly what happened. By the time the team arrived to campus for their fall semester, they found out Head Coach Lacey Burns was in charge, and DeCoud had also spoken to her several times.
Having a new coach meant being able to play another season, but it also meant starting all over technique and schematic wise. DeCoud said that “as far as team dynamic goes, it changes with each coach, because every coach is different and with that, their plays are different.”
Being a part of a team that coach Burns didn’t recruit made it difficult at first, but DeCoud also noted that it shows just how receptive and dedicated to the game they really are. Being a part of a team that has undergone a lot of change shows how much they truly love the game, but also negatively affects their schedules and plays. Getting used to new plays and drills has been a challenge.
This hasn’t stopped DeCoud from setting some big goals for the team, in hopes of keeping the morale high. As they approach the second half of their conference schedule, DeCoud hopes to prove that the team can play competitively.
“We’ll be competitive with a team to a certain point,” she said. “There’s ups and downs and we play hard, but it’s not a full 40 minutes and we’re fully capable of playing a full competitive game.”
DeCoud hopes to make it back to her hometown in Colorado for the SCAC tournament and to leave a team that “continues to love to play. That’s the essence of being a DIII player: loving the game. We put in a lot of time and effort and energy into going into practice and having a test the next day, or traveling over the weekend and having midterms the next week, but we do it because we love it.”