Photo courtesy of Boston College Women's Club Basketball / Facebook

Women's Club Basketball's Long Road to Nationals

After dominating the local competition and taking first place at the NIRSA Regional Tournament on Feb. 13-14, the Boston College women’s club basketball team is now on its way to Ohio State for the national tournament. 

The road to Ohio was an efficient and straightforward one for the Eagles. They were on fire at Beantown’s most contested women’s club basketball tournament, winning by a significant margin in each game, and ultimately cinching the title to earn a coveted spot at nationals in April.

The team faced tough competition from local New England schools including Sacred Heart, Ithaca, and Loyola Maryland on Feb. 13. They later faced Ithaca and Loyola yet again. After annihilating all their opponents, the Eagles moved on to eventually top Harvard in the championship match. 

Unfortunately, despite also taking first in the NIRSA tournament last year, the Eagles were unable to attend 2015’s national tournament due to budgetary and travel restrictions. Due to the club nature of the team, the budget and resource allocation is scarce juxtaposed to that of a traditional D1 basketball team.

Though the team had to miss out on the tournament last year, the Eagles are eager and ready to take on some top tier national club teams in April. The Eagles will play against teams like Ohio State and the 2015 defending champions, University of Illinois.

After sitting down with two sophomore members of the team, Shea North, CSON ‘18, and Kayla Walczyk, MCAS ‘18, it is clear that the level of enthusiasm and passion for the sport amongst the players is a key component in their successes as a team thus far.

Both North and Walczyk have been with the team since its inception in 2014. “I have had a basketball in my hand since age three or four, so it was natural for me to want to continue with it into college," said North, a point guard. "Being part of the inaugural team was a great opportunity; we are young, full of enthusiasm, and have been doing great things so far.”

The Eagles have had three certainly impressive seasons for being such a young team, going undefeated in all regulation games and tournaments and only losing to Harvard in one of their first scrimmages in 2014.

Though the on-court practice time is not particularly abundant, the team makes the best of the limited time it is given. “The two days a week when we get a couple hours to work together on the newly-laid hardwood on Plex court 10 is great," said North. "We all work hard together, hustle, and have fun with it. We all really want to be here, and we all want to see success from our efforts both on and off the court.”

When asked what the secret to their significant successes in their early years have been, Walczyk simply answered, “It's a great, fun, hard working group of girls. We all want the same thing; we want to win and be successful on the court, but also form a tight knit group of like-minded ballers on campus.”

While there are some definite setbacks to being considered club status, such as diminished funding, lack of accommodating travel solutions for the team, and no cool BC athlete backpacks or sneakers, there are definitely more positives than negatives to going out for a club team.

North and Walczyk could not have praised their coach, teammates, and overall club basketball experience more. “It’s such a mixed bag for the memories that stand out," said Walczyk. "While it's such an amazing experience to of course bring home first place in a tournament, the team Panera trips or just hanging out and having fun are equally as valuable to the overall experience.”

The BC Women’s Club Basketball team has been extremely successful in its early years, serving as an unstoppable and talented powerhouse dominating the New England Region women’s hoops game. After having to forgo 2015’s invitational tournament, the Eagles are hungry. They are ready to take Ohio by storm and show the national club basketball scene that BC is a true contender.

Follow @BCGavelSports on Twitter for the latest updates on Boston College athletics. 

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