By Rob Potter
LOCH SHELDRAKE You could say the Sullivan County Community College (SCCC) Lady Generals are stuck at halfcourt. Last year, the team posted an overall record of 14-14 and finished fifth in National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region XV with a 8-8 mark.
“We have been a .500 team,” SCCC Coach Sara Thompson Tweedy said. “I think we can be a better basketball team than we were last year.”
Unfortunately for Thompson Tweedy and her players, they have had a tough start to this season. The Lady Generals lost their first four games.
“We lost to two teams we could have beaten,” Thompson Tweedy said. “We lost to Westchester [Community College] by four points and we lost to Finger Lakes [Community College] by two points.”
The team’s other two losses were by larger margins. Hostos Community College defeated SCCC, 76-66 and Alfred State, an NJCAA Division II power (SCCC is an NJCAA Division III team) trounced the Lady Generals by 30 points.
But the Lady Generals rebounded from their 0-4 start to win their last two games. On Nov. 12, SCCC topped host Kingsborough Community College, 78-65. Then on Nov. 19, the Lady Generals went back on the road to beat Borough of Manhattan Community College, 58-50.
The Lady Generals are scheduled to play at Bronx Community College tonight and host SUNY Orange on Thursday at 5 p.m. in their home opener.
The 2011-2012 Lady Generals have the experience to post a winning record.
“We’re bringing back three of our starting players from last year,” Thompson Tweedy explained. “And we have a total of eight returnees.”
Those three returning starters are sophomores Sonia Andrades, Luna Jefferson and Kunnuh Wisseh. The two new members of the starting lineup are sophomores Alyssa Corbett and Constance Fripp.
The other team members are sophomores Catherine “Ruby” Betances, Erin Lane and Ashara Morris and freshmen Isis Alonso, Danielle Darby and Melaina Walker.
Corbett and Darby are the two local players on the Lady Generals’ roster. Corbett is a Liberty Central School graduate and Darby is a Tri-Valley Central School graduate.
“Erin Lane is our sixth man,” Thompson Tweedy said. “She does a good job of coming off the bench and giving us a lift.”
The Lady Generals don’t rely on just one player to lead their offensive attack.
“Sonia [Andrades], Kunnuh [Wisseh] and Constance [Fripp] are all capable of getting a double-double whenever they step on the court,” Thompson Tweedy said. “For example, Sonia had 21 points and 11 rebounds in our game with Finger Lakes [Community College]. And Kunnuh had 13 points and 11 rebounds against Westchester [Community College].”
Thompson Tweedy noted that she has already seen improvement from several of her players from their performances last season.
“Alyssa Corbett has definitely improved her game,” Thompson Tweedy said. “Alyssa, Erin Lane and Catherine Betances have taken steps forward from last season. All three of them really worked on their game during the summer. They worked on their dribbling, shooting and defense.”
Helping Thompson Tweedy lead the Lady Generals this season are Assistant Coaches Ryan Meikle and Carl Graham. This is Meikle’s first year at SCCC, while Graham is in his fourth year.
Meikle is taking the place of Diana Traugot, who was one of the team’s assistant coaches the past three seasons. Traugot left the program to attend graduate school.
“Ryan is a good addition to our program,” Thompson Tweedy commented. “He brings a lot of coaching experience. And Carl has been a tremendous help. He has a great basketball background and helps recruit a lot of players for us.”
While she is looking for the Lady Generals to work hard and surpass last year’s .500 record, Thompson Tweedy is also focused on the team’s long-term future.
“Over the next few years, we want to build up our program so that it is on par with the men’s basketball program here at Sullivan,” she said. “We want to get to the point where we are challenging for the Region XV title every year and have a chance to go to the national tournament.”