The St. Mary’s College of Maryland Basketball team has gotten off to a rocky start in their 2019-2020 season. The team started off their season on Nov. 9 facing off against Widener University in the One Love Seahawk Invitational at the Michael P. O’Brien Athletic Center. The team fell with a final score of 72 to 43. The team then faced off against Drew University on Sunday Nov. 10 and fell with a final score of 88 to 52.
However, the season has consisted of more than losing. Numerous players quit before the start of the season and a few more have quit since the season has started which has left the team with barely enough players to play in a game. The team had two games that were scheduled to be played on Friday Nov. 15 and Saturday Nov. 16, but as a result of lowering numbers on the team, both of the games were cancelled. After many complaints, third-year head coach C.K. Calhoun has been placed on leave by the athletic department and the status of the season is in question.
Two players who were key contributors in the first two games of the season were Cassidy Kupchinskas (‘22) and Stephanie Howell (‘23). When asking Kupchinskas, the 5 foot 6 inch forward from Bel Air, Maryland about the season, she said that “The season thus far has been a roller coaster of emotions. The beginning of the season did not start out too bad but by our first scrimmage we had people considering quitting the team. This year one of our juniors left followed by two out of our three senior leaders leaving. After this last tournament we just played another starting junior left followed by 2 sophomore guards.” Howell had similar remarks, as she stated, “The season has been off to a rough start as we struggle to fill a roster. We lost many of our returners for different reasons and found ourselves scrambling to find players and a coaching staff.”
Even though the team has had a tumultuous start to the season, some are still staying positive in hopes that they will be able to continue to compete this season. Howell stated, “At this point in the season, we are doing whatever we can to work towards positivity, having fun, and putting together a team to put out to have a season.” Though Kupchinskas did acknowledge that she is unaware of what the outcome will be for the rest of the season, she did say that the motto of the team throughout the season has been “united.”
Regardless of the controversy, Howell, the 5 foot 8 inch freshman who attended Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in Montgomery County, MD, has still had a memorable start to the season. She stated, “I have met some great people and had good memories regardless. While the team has had our issues, I feel as though I have still grown as a player and a person despite the trouble, I am thankful for the opportunity to play and will make the best of the situation regardless.”
As a result of third-year head coach C.K. Calhoun being placed on leave, coaches from the men’s basketball team have volunteered to step up and help the remaining players to complete a season. Howell wanted to recognize the coaches who have volunteered to help out the program as she says, “I would like to voice my appreciation for Coach Harney, Coach Matt and Coach Dom from the men’s basketball program for stepping up and dedicating so much of their time to helping save our season, when they did not have to. We are all very appreciative of their effort, time, and dedication when they already have so much going on outside of the women’s team already. We cannot thank them enough.”
The women’s team hopes to complete their season and continue to build off the progress that has been made. The team has a home game on Tuesday, Nov. 19 vs. Catholic University at 6pm.