By: Erin Onderko
For the Yellow Jacket
Every athlete is looking forward to the day that they can once again play the game they love. The idea of games or sports has been changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The same holds true for women’s basketball sophomore point guard, Anika Dansby, who like any other athlete, is eager to get back to her favorite pastime.
“I feel like we’re all just ready to play,” Dansby said. “All of our coaches have encouraged us to be better every day in practice, so I think that’s helped a lot, and just to keep our heads up knowing we still have a season to prepare for.”
Dansby started playing basketball in an elementary church league, eventually moving up to play for her middle school team before going on to have an impressive high school career in her hometown of Massillon, Ohio.
It was during her sophomore year of high school that Dansby says basketball truly became her passion. She wanted to look to play at the next level. This decision led Dansby receiving a visit during her senior year from Waynesburg basketball coach, Sam Jones.
“I really enjoy coaching Anika.” Jones said, “She wants to learn, she wants to be coached and that’s a great quality to have. She works hard to improve, I like her athleticism, her relentless drive.”
Jones said that during the upcoming season he hopes to see the point guard become a more vocal leader on the team, especially now that she is a sophomore.
Since the start of practices, there have been challenges the team has had to overcome, but Jones is pleased overall with how they are doing as a team.
Dansby has enjoyed her time working with Jones as well.
“During my senior year of high school Coach Jones came to one of my games early in the season, and I think he was recruiting a different girl,” Dansby said. “But he contacted me after the game, and I did a visit and everyone was very welcoming.”
When asked about her time with the team, Dansby said she has loved spending time with her teammates and appreciates that they always push her to get better. One of her favorite memories with her college team thus far, was last season when the Lady Jackets beat Bethany on senior night to advance to the playoffs.
Dansby also commented on the fact that coming into college, she was not a point guard, which is the role she now plays for the team. Despite this, she aspires to be coachable and learn more to become better each day.
Although there are challenges this season, Jones is trying to use this time focusing on individual skills and other things they would not otherwise have time for.
While COVID-19 has made life more stressful, the team is trying to stay focused on what they need to do and not on the differences.
Both Jones and Dansby are looking forward to the same thing: the first game of the season.
“We’re just looking forward to that first tip-off,” Dansby said. “I think if we can get to the first game, and it’s still happening, then it will feel like basketball again and we’ll just get after it. It won’t matter what restrictions happen, if we can get to tip-off of game one, that’s really, really what we’re looking forward to right now.”