William and Mary and senior forward Alex Masaquel appear ready for the Colonial Athletic Association, but is the CAA ready for her and the women’s basketball team?
When Masaquel first joined the College in 2013, she only played 12 games. Of the 62 minutes she played in her first season, however, she scored 19 points. Her sophomore year, she played in 30 out of 31 games, 29 of which she started. 19 points quickly became 235 points, an average of 7.8 points per game. Fast forward to the 2015-2016 season: Masaquel started in all 30 games of the season, averaging 13.8 points per game and scoring a total of 413 points in her 968 minutes of gameplay.
“My freshman year, I didn’t play as much; I wasn’t as mature, I couldn’t drive to the basket as well,” Masaquel said. “So, I worked in the summer and during post-season and pre-season. [The previous coach] worked with me to work on my explosiveness and handling the ball and making contact to get to the basket. Now I’m able to start, and I’m one of the leaders on the team.”
There are four seniors on the team this season, more than there have been in the previous three years. Masaquel and the other three seniors — guard Latrice Hunter, forward Kasey Curtis and guard Marlena Tremba — are in the unique position of having joined the program at the same time as head coach Ed Swanson four years ago. While recruits usually get to know their coaches prior to the season, this was not the case for Masaquel. However, this did not hinder the dynamic between the two.
JMU is a very competitive team in the conference; they win every year,” Masaquel said. “[We are] definitely looking forward to challenging them again, especially on their home court. The crowd that they draw in is just huge and electric, so to beat them on their own floor would be awesome for my last season.”
“[Swanson and I] both are fresh coming into the program, so we did not know much about each other,” Masaquel said. “He’s very into the game, he’s very passionate, which is a great thing. He has definitely pushed me to be better as a player.”
James Madison has proved to be fierce competition to the Tribe in the past, and Masaquel is looking forward to the rivalry in the upcoming season.
“JMU is a very competitive team in the conference; they win every year,” Masaquel said. “[We are] definitely looking forward to challenging them again, especially on their home court. The crowd that they draw in is just huge and electric, so to beat them on their own floor would be awesome for my last season.”
Masaquel’s junior year can be summed up in a series of titles: Second-Team All-CAA, a second-team nod on the all-state team from Virginia Sports Information Directors, CAA All-Academic team and CAA player of the week on the week of Jan. 4, 2016. On top of all the honors, she was the only Tribe player to start in each of the 30 games of the 2015-2016 season. With all of this on the record, many are curious as to what goals and aspirations Masaquel has for her final season at the College.
I would like to reach 1,000 points this year, get to the basket, and be a scoring and offensive threat for the team,” Masaquel said.
“I would like to reach 1,000 points this year, get to the basket, and be a scoring and offensive threat for the team,” Masaquel said. “As a team, our goal is to win a championship. All of us are very healthy and hungry to be the next team in the CAA to conquer and defeat the rest.”