Eric Parks, Staff Writer
Any college student partaking in athletics knows that their commitment to their team is substantial. The amount of time practice, games, and training requires during their season makes time management especially difficult for student athletes. The basketball players, however, have a special commitment due to the timing of their sport: a large portion of the basketball season takes place during winter break. While most students go home over the break (after all, they don’t have much of a choice: the dorms close over break), the basketball players continue to practice and compete as normal.
With six games over winter break, the men’s team will remain very occupied during their rest period. With only four of the team’s 15 players from Washington, the majority of the group will have to stay on campus for break and won’t get to visit their families nearly as much as everyone else. Their schedule allows for an eight-day break between their Dec. 19 game against Evergreen State University and their Dec. 28 tilt against Simon Fraser University, but doesn’t let up after that.
Thus far, the men have been enjoying a productive season. After close exhibition losses at the University of Washington (87-91) and Washington State University (74-85), the Saints are 6-2 on the season while playing just one game at home. While only two conference games have been played (in which the Saints are 1-1), Saint Martin’s has a competitive overall record. Starting over break, the Saints face only conference opponents for the remainder of the season including a trip to Alaska to face the University of Alaska-Anchorage and the University of Alaska-Fairbanks in early January. Perhaps a quiet campus and a break from academics will help the team focus on basketball and bode well for the fate of the team, despite their inability to spend significant time at home with family.
The women’s team faces a similar situation as the men, with five games of their own to keep themselves occupied over break. While the team is comprised of a higher percentage of Washington natives, the women’s team has their share of students who won’t be able to spend much time at their out-of-state home this break either. The women, however, will be presented with their own unique challenge. While the men’s team is mostly made up of students who are juniors or seniors, only five of the women’s fourteen players are upperclassmen. The break could be a blessing in disguise for a young team looking to build chemistry for this season and beyond.
With a record of 5-4 and a conference record of 1-1, the women are also holding their own in competitive play this season. Earlier in the year, the women had a four-game winning streak with each victory coming by double digits. Additionally, the women get two days longer between games over Christmas than the men. They do, however, travel to British Columbia for a Jan. 11 game at Simon Fraser and have a game in Bellingham, Wash. only two days later. Hopefully the team will be able to build upon their successes and impressive individual performances by team leaders Elin Johansson, Saniah Simpson-Patu and Makenna Schultz. With both Men’s and Women’s Basketball among the most popular and successful sports at Saint Martin’s, it will be exciting to see how both teams fare over winter break and the remainder of the season.