Young UNCW Women’s Basketball team facing challenges head on

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY)–It’s been a summer and fall full of challenges for the UNCW Women’s Basketball team. Two weeks ago practice was shut down due to a covid-19 cluster, cutting off-season workouts short.

The players were sidelined for nearly two weeks as they went through quarantine. They say it made them appreciate their teammates and coaching staff just that much more.

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“It was a little hard quarantining and not being able to be around my teammates,”says UNCW senior Paige Powell. “It just made me appreciate everything that we have much more. Like the people that clean up after us and wearing a mask. It just made me appreciate practice and being around my teammates and my coaches.”

This years Seahawks team will need to come together quickly, with eight new faces joining the program in 2020. UNCW lost four out of their five leading scorers from a year ago to graduation. The roster flip has forced seniors like Carol-Anne Obusek and Paige Powell to step into the limelight as leaders.

“For us we have to come out of our comfort zone and be able to explain to them positions that we might not have played in the past,”says Seahawk senior Carol-Anne Obusek. “That is where we are having to grow as players, but I think we’re doing a good job of it. I think that everybody is coming a long well and I’m excited for what this season is going to bring for us.”

The Seahawks will kick-off the season on November 25th and it looks as if interim Head Coach Tina Martin will be leading the charge. She says this group of players works non-stop, but they understand it’ll be a work in progress.

“I think the newcomers are determined to step forward and try to play as well as they can possibly play, but it’s a process,”Martin says. “You know I’ve been a coach for a long time and it doesn’t happen overnight. So, we’re working through it every single day. I think our identity right now is that were a very hard working team and we’re trying to improve every single day.”

The UNCW Athletic Department says there are no updates on the status of Head Coach Karen Barefoot. The university announced Tina Martin as the interim head coach last week in a press release. They added that there would be no further comment on the situation from the school because it is a “personnel issue”. We will continue to monitor this situation as the season gets closer.