Concordia Stingers women’s basketball head coach Tenicha Gittens talks about the upcoming year
The Concordia Stingers women’s basketball team is starting its second year under the guidance of head coach Tenicha Gittens who believes that they can improve on last year’s 7-9 record.
The nomination of Gittens as head coach in late July 2015 prevented her from monitoring the team’s conditioning during last year’s off-season, since she was brought in so close to training camp.
This time around, players are taking part in her rigorous program that has had returning players breaking a heavy sweat since April. Gittens ensured that her players are already starting to see results and improvement when it comes to skills and fitness.
According to Gittens, the team has added more skilled players to the roster so that the team has more options down the stretch. These additions address the team’s lack of depth from last year. Now the emphasis will be on wreaking havoc, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
The Stingers are adding five new recruits this year. Three of those recruits, forward Marvia Dean, forward Ashley Moss and guard Jazlyn Barker were all teammates at Holland College in Prince Edward Island. The team also added Donna Lamont from Jamaica and point guard Caroline Task from Vanier College. Gittens described the new recruiting class as one that is strong defensively, which fits the style of game she is trying to teach her team.
“Defense is something we focus on a lot in practice every single day,” Gittens said. “[The team] sometimes hates it but they know they have to do it because it’s just going to make us better as a unit.”
Her coaching philosophy starts with the importance of getting defensive stops.
“It’s the one thing you can control. You can’t say that every game you are going to score thirty plus points a quarter,” Gittens said, adding that scoring is a question of effort and playing for the teammate in front of you.
Last year’s team boasted two of the top three scorers in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) division with forward Richelle Grégoire and forward Marilyse Roy-Viau. The team’s scoring came in spurts, and the team enjoyed success on the offensive side of the ball for much of the season. On the other hand, it proved to be an ineffective way of winning games against powerhouses like the Université de Laval and McGill. The goal this year is to be one of the top 10 defensive teams in the league.
Gittens said that while Grégoire played great for the team last season, she has the potential to be play even better this year.
“The work ethic she has is unbelievable and everybody wants [Grégoire] on their team because of how she plays,” Gittens said. Gittens added that if one were to watch Grégoire in practice, they would see a strong effort that is always translated to games.
Gittens also complimented Grégoire’s leadership skills, noting that she has a different mindset that sets her apart from the other players.
“She takes the last shot in practice. If she doesn’t take the last [shot] in practice, I’m mad,” Gittens said.
The Stingers will look to feed off of that energy as they start their tournament season on Sept. 30 in the Nipissing tournament. Gittens said the team is in a “win now mode” since the addition of more depth will help them get through the tournament season. Gittens said she is confident that every player on the team is able to contribute 20 to 25 minutes of playing time per night, which will keep the team fresh throughout the season.
The Stingers will play their first regular season game at home on Nov. 6 against Bishop’s University at 6 p.m.