Strong team chemistry leads to success for the club’s women’s basketball team

It’s not just the men’s basketball team here at Montclair State University that has been successful.

The club’s women’s basketball team, led by student coach Kayla Fletcher, is currently 4-0 overall and in the Mid-Atlantic East Conference, with huge wins over Lehigh University in Pennsylvania and a familiar enemy at Rowan University. teachers.

Main guard Lisa Cohen spoke about the strength of the team’s chemistry against their competition in Glassboro, New Jersey.

“The courts on which they make us play are in their [recreation] center,” Cohen said. “There was an open gym on the other side and we were constantly seeing other people [looking over at us] because we were so loud. The chemistry was amazing. People were walking, looking through the divider and sitting and watching us because they were fascinated by what was going on.

Montclair State recently scored key victories against club team Lehigh University.
Photo courtesy of Kayla Fletcher

Something that can mesmerize viewers is Cohen’s defense in the final games of this season. Cohen had two interceptions in three straight games against St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and against Lehigh as well. Cohen emphasized how important defending the ball was to her.

“I think defense is my strong point, and everyone on the team can agree with that,” Cohen said. “I have a way of controlling the defense and imagining what’s going to happen for the other team even before it happens. I think that has an impact on the team, our chemistry and the game in his outfit.

Head coach Kayla Fletcher built her team from the ground up

Head Student Coach Kayla Fletcher built her team from the ground up.
Photo courtesy of Kayla Fletcher

Fletcher has had a huge impact on the team over the past few seasons. In 2019 and before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the team was not well placed on paper, going 4-6-2 in addition to being second-to-bottom in the Mid- Atlantic East Conference. But with the help of Fletcher and Cohen, they made the club’s women’s basketball team what it is today.

“We had absolutely nothing, so it all came down to building a team,” Fletcher said. “I got injured, so I took on the coaching role and we started to build the team around players who show good sportsmanship and a good attitude. Obviously I was also looking for skills, but it goes way beyond that.

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Members of the Montclair State Basketball Club women’s team pose for a photo.
Photo courtesy of Kayla Fletcher

Team cohesion and chemistry are key to their success here on campus. This applies in particular to the club’s women’s basketball team. Fletcher doesn’t make his team sit down and throw jump shots. They work hard on game situations in every practice.

Junior forward Jada Baker is a player who has reaped the rewards of hard work for the team every day. Baker not only leads the team in points per game (with over 14 points per game), but she also recently earned Player of the Week honors for the club team. This is one of the rewards they offer for feeling good at work. Baker explains how she shoots so effectively this season.

“It starts with working out in the gym, as much as possible,” Baker said. “It’s what helps me keep my shooting consistent, stay focused and be ready for every practice. And my teammates also help me because they are very encouraging and they always come looking for you. If you miss a shot, it doesn’t matter. You come back on defense and fire another shot in the next possession.

Baker also pointed out that every girl is essential to the team and explained how, during one of Rowan’s games, Cohen had a three-point shot. Because of his defensive style of play, something like that doesn’t happen often, so the girls on the bench went crazy. It’s moments like that that help players’ confidence.

Jada Baker and Danijela Markanovic (top and bottom right) are two key players in the club's women's basketball team

Jada Baker and Danijela Markanovic (top and bottom right) are two key players in the club’s women’s basketball team.
Photo courtesy of Kayla Fletcher

Junior center Danijela Markanovic also has a lot of confidence given that she is the tallest and true center in the team. She’s averaging nearly nine points per game and even had four steals in a game against St. Joseph University.

Markanovic spoke about what helps his attacking style of play.

“You have to treat the ball like it’s your baby,” Markanovic said. “Obviously size has an advantage, but that doesn’t matter either since [Baker] is 5 feet 9 [inches] and she averages 14 points per game. You also have to speak loudly and control the girls, otherwise it won’t work.

With games against the College of New Jersey (TCNJ), Villanova University and Iona College coming up on their schedule, they all want anyone interested to attend the games and support the team. It can only strengthen their family chemistry, as Cohen discusses.

“You have to come to one of our games to really feel what we’re saying,” Cohen said. “Everyone seems surprised when we talk about our team, but it’s not enough to talk about it, but rather to see a game in person.”

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