Women’s basketball team finds leaders in upperclassmen, veteran players

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Courtesy Photo / The Bison

Junior Communications Major Jaylin Stapleton serves as a guard for OBU women’s basketball.

Anthony Williams

Assistant Sports Editor

The Oklahoma Baptist women’s basketball team ended their 2018-19 season 10-18.

With losing four seniors last year, the one thing the Bison are looking for is leadership.

One person looking to re- place some upperclassmen is junior transfer Jaylin Stapleton.

Although it is a brand- new team, Stapleton said she thinks it’s going to be exciting.

“I transferred here as a junior from Barton Community College in Kansas,” communications major and guard Jaylin Stapleton said.

“Our team this year only has five returners from last year, the rest of us are either transfers or freshman, so we pretty much have a brand- new team, which could be nerve wrecking but it’s ex-cit- ing,” Stapleton said.

The relatively new team is looking for ways to move for- ward and improve.

“I would say with our brand-new team, we are still trying to find our set of leaders,” Stapleton said.

“As a point guard, I am willing [and expect our next generation of leaders to be committed], especially on the court. I would say most of our returners have done a great job leading all of our new- comers.”

“Off the court, we are really focused on changing the culture of OBU women’s basket-
ball. We are focused on being a united team that does the little things right with communication being our major key,” Stapleton said.

Stapleton’s teammates think she’s very capable of being such a leader and an as- set to the team.

“Jaylin is such a hard worker,” senior health and human performance and guard Mikayla Shulanberger said.

“She will definitely be a help to reaching our team goal. She is determined and pushes each of us to do our best,” she said.

“She never gives up and makes sure that we don’t either. If she sees one of us down, she is there to encourage us. She also knows how to keep our spirits up. She can make us smile, even when we are having a hard day, on the court, or even off the court.”

 

Shulanberger said she also admires Stapleton’s kindness.

“She treats each of us as a sister and it goes beyond basketball,” she said.

“In life she is an awesome person to be around and makes you feel welcomed and not like you are just a teammate in basketball, but that you are actually a per- son beyond it and you matter. She is a great, hard-working teammate and friend,” Shulanberger said.

Transferring from JUCO to OBU has challenged Staple- ton. However, she said she is embracing it.

“Being at OBU was a huge transition for me coming from a JUCO,” she said.

“I’m honestly still adjusting. Everything from academics to practice is way more intense than it was at my JUCO. The expectations are set higher, but I’m embracing the challenges,” Stapleton said.

The women’s basketball team wants all the support from the fans it can get.

“Fan support is such a big role for all sports, but especially basketball,” she said.

“Homecourt advantages can be key, especially against rival schools or in big games. Throughout high school and at my JUCO, the fan sup- port was amazing. I’m look- ing forward to seeing all the fans, especially students, at our games come November,” Stapleton said.

The fans are looking forward to the season as well.

“I love basketball season,” junior health and human performance major Jordan Gardner said

“I try and go to all the games so I can to cheer on my friends. I love the hype that happens at the games and the camaraderie on the court and in the stands,” he said.

“Seeing the players work hard and fight to win, seeing the teammates and coaches on the bench cheering on the players, urging them to keep going and push through, that energy is awesome, and it is reciprocated back to the students. Whenever the student section is full and all the students are laughing, cheering and shouting for the team, there is so much energy in the stadium. I love the basketball season,” Gardner said.

The women’s basketball team’s first official practice is October 15, and their season opener is November 8, 2019 as they take on Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas.

 

 

 

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