To begin the semester, they were 4-12.
Ever since, the Waynesburg University women’s basketball team has rattled off four wins in its last six contests and are now competing for a home playoff game.
Most recently, the Jackets picked up a 76-62 win over Geneva College.
“We’ve been paying more attention to the little details,” head coach Sam Jones said. “We’ve been making some shots and we are winning the turnover battle.”
Jones has always preached to his players to play “Jacket basketball.” But after a dismal start, which included five double-digit losses, Jones had an observation.
“For this roster, ‘Jacket basketball’ has changed,” he said. “Defensively, we are a little bit different.”
The defense switched from a man-to-man to a zone defense. It was implemented in the second half of the Saint Vincent game as an “emergency situation,” and it helped cut a 20-point deficit to just a two-point difference. With the exception of the fourth quarter against Geneva, Jones has been very pleased with the outcome.
Four Yellow Jackets scored in double figures in the win over Geneva College, including sophomore Andrea Orlosky and senior Monica Starre leading the way with 18 points each.
“Monica has flirted with a triple-double twice and is the engine that makes us run,” Jones said.
Starre has been the starting point guard for the last three seasons. Jones said that he looks at her as the player who has really stood out in the turnaround. However, Starre still finds struggles in trying to find her voice as the team’s senior leader.
“In the past, Coach [Jones] wanted me to be more vocal and I tend to lead by example,” Starre said. “This year we needed a leader, and I’m fine with that but it’s not natural for me to be a vocal leader.”
While Starre led the team on and off the court, Andrea Orlosky was named the PAC player of the week last week. Despite being the leading scorer on the team, Orlosky looks up to Starre in a number of ways.
“After the Thiel game, it was the first time [Starre] ever yelled at us,” Orlosky said. “Not only was it a wake-up call for all of us, but personally it made me want to play for her. [Starre] is not only a great basketball player, but she is just a kind person.”
Now sitting in sixth place in the PAC standings, Waynesburg is in line for a first-round home playoff game.
However, Waynesburg plays the two top teams in the PAC in the span of four days in the form of second-place Washington & Jefferson College and first-place Saint Vincent College.
“It’s difficult to game plan because you start with what you did last time against them,” Jones said. “I am a firm believer that we prepare to be the best version of us, and if we are then the details will take care of itself.”
While not looking ahead, a home playoff game would mean a lot to Orlosky and Starre.
“Getting a home playoff game is so important,” said Starre. “I know for me that as a senior, home games are so much better all around. We didn’t start the season that well, and it would be so rewarding to get a home playoff game after we have fought so hard the last couple of weeks.”
Without needing to worry about Thomas More, Orlosky said she’s confident the team can make a run in the playoffs.
“With Thomas More gone we know that we can beat any team as long as we play our hardest,” Orlosky said. “Having that home playoff game would show that we have what we need to succeed.”