Christian Rodriguez, Assistant Sports Editor
The Utica College women’s basketball team is coming off a 7-18 record last year and are looking forward to a fresh start in the 2017-18 season.
Senior forward Maggie Tabone has made sure to set goals for the Lady Pioneers this year.
“My expectations are to have a winning record and play at our highest potential every game,” Tabone said. “I want to be one of those final four teams and have an opportunity to play for an Empire 8 championship.”
Tabone made sure that she was in top shape for her senior campaign this summer as she says that it was her most productive in the four years she’s been a student athlete at UC.
“I would get up in the morning before work, run and come home at night and lift,” Tabone said. “My middle sister is also a college basketball player and my youngest sister plays in high school. My dad would take us up to the local college in my town and we would get on the agility ladder and do shooting drills.
Going into her final season in a Pioneer uniform, Tabone plans to “leave it all on the floor.”
“I don’t want to look back and say ‘I should have or I could have,’” Tabone said. “This is my last shot at being a college athlete and I don’t want to waste a second of it.”
Senior point guard Ashley Mayo, who led the team in scoring, really sees the potential in this year’s Lady Pioneer’s squad.
“We brought in some great, lengthy freshman and transfers that could really make an immediate impact to our team,” Mayo said.
Counting on tremendous upside for the team, Mayo is expecting the Pioneers to be a threat in the Empire 8 Conference this season.
Mayo’s offseason consisted of a variety of different things to expand her versatility on the floor.
“This summer, I worked on different finishes at the basket and my shot consistency from long and mid-range,” Mayo said. “I also really focused on strength and agility training so that I could be stronger and quicker when attacking the basket, which is my strength.”
With all the hard work she put in, Mayo says her main objective this year is to help her team make the playoffs and become Empire 8 Champions.
“I also would like to be recognized as one of the top guards in the Empire 8 Conference for my final season,” Mayo said.
Teammate Ashleyne Babb led the conference in steals last season and says this year’s team has a lot of potential
Babb said her point of emphasis in the summer was to get in shape and work on her jump shooting.
“They’re going to be giving me shots a lot this season,” Babb said. “So, I need to be able to make some and be confident about it.”
Babb is 290 points shy of 1000, a milestone she would like to reach. She is also planning on leading the conference in steals again, along with assists as well. Aside from those goals, her main concern is to win the Empire 8 championship.
“I’d do anything to get my team to the playoffs,” Babb said.
The women’s basketball team open up their season at home on Wednesday, Nov. 15 against the visiting Bears of Potsdam.