Asst. Sports Editor
During this time of year on the Rhode Island College Campus, the Murray Center is filled to the brim with fans, basketball players, team personnel and the Anchor TV crew filming the games. Due to the global pandemic, sports have not been able to occur, leaving questions about when they will and how different they will operate. Unfortunately, it will be sooner rather than later for fans and spectators alike due to the rise of COVID-19 cases in Rhode Island. However, sports will be returning to us soon giving us all hope and the return of some normalcy. The men’s basketball team finished fifth in the Little East conference finishing with an overall record of 16-10. The women’s basketball team finished second in the Little East conference with an astonishing 22-5 overall record and made it to the Little East championship game. With two talented and impressive teams with a lot to prove, the future is bright when they are able to play again.
“My expectations this year is that we are going to come back and win the championship” stated star women’s basketball point guard Sophia Guerrier. Sophia is a communications major here at RIC heading into her senior year. Besides being an exemplary student, she is an experienced and accomplished basketball player making her a great leader on the team. Some of her accomplishments include earning a spot on the “First Team All-Little East” and being named a “Little East Player of the Week” both last season. I sat down with Guerrier this week asking about a variety of things in regards to the basketball season during these times. The first question I asked was regarding if there was any indication of when the season will likely begin, which she revealed “We start practice this week in the rec center” which is a hopeful first step into moving towards a regular season which will begin in the next few months. Of course, with COVID-19 there are going to be restrictions in how players interact with each other. The star point guard revealed some of the applied routines for this unusual season include “...wearing a mask, having our own water bottles, having shorter practices than usual, and not being able to be taped up by the trainer..” which she says are “...weird rules but obviously reinforced due to COVID-19 protocols...” An integral part of the basketball experience is the fans, who will most likely not be in attendance due to safety reasons. Fans provide crucial momentum shifts and morale support that players feed off of. When asked about playing in an empty Murray Center, Guerrier stated “It is going to feel more like a scrimmage if anything. It is going to be weird, but the team will support each other and will be yelling, hopefully making up for the absence of fans, but we will definitely miss them.” Besides the global pandemic, I asked about how serious the season as a whole would be taken by players and coaches alike due to it being shortened with unusual circumstances which Sophia replied “It is still going to be just as competitive and taken just as seriously. Players may also like and adapt to the later start time of the season, but for some this will definitely put them out of their routine.” Finally, I wanted to know her expectations for the season and for herself revealing “I feel like we can go back to the championship and win it all. We are going to come back harder and be prepared to play our hearts out. As for me, a senior this year, I would like to become a captain and score my thousandth point.”
The global situation is something to keep an eye on as decisions regarding sports on campus will be based on the current status of it. With small steps being taken already, there is already a feeling of normalcy and hope in regards to sports on campus. With the absence of fans and restrictions, it will not be the same environment as before. However, the teams have faith they will be able to adapt and succeed during an unconventional season. We, as fans, may not be able to support them in person, but the teams know we will be rooting for them.