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Women's Basketball Team Has Season of Growth Amid Tough Lessons


West Windsor, N.J. – The story of MCCC women’s basketball this season seemed to be a tale of two halves.  The Lady Vikings struggled to put together two good halves and lost too many close games as a result. 

Despite their 5-21 record, Head Coach Mike Tenaglia says his players never gave up. He hopes the returning freshmen from this squad will use the season as preparation for the pressure of close games next year and also learn how to close out games when they have the lead.

Coach Tenaglia credits his team for "remaining in the game every game. It's hard to continue to fight when things aren’t going your way, but that was not true for the Lady Vikings this season."

Tenaglia is especially proud of his two sophomores, Shelby Mellon and Chelsea Arnold, who stepped up in many games, especially in the second half of the season. Mellon was asked to play multiple positions, and did her best to provide leadership down the stretch in many games. Arnold also had a strong season, especially on defense. She finished the season in the top 50 in two NJCAA Division II categories: 22nd in the country in blocked shots per game, averaging 2.5 blocks per game, and 41st in rebounds, averaging 9.9 rebounds per game. Arnold and Mellon were named to the All Garden State Athletic Conference Second Team, along with freshman Morgan Cullen, the only Lady Viking to average double figures on the season, with 11.7 points per game and 56 three-point field goals.

Other contributors included freshman Erin Sobkowiak, who averaged 6.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game in her rookie year. Jackie Laurenti averaged 7.6 points per game and Alyssa Walsh averaged 3.4 rebounds per game. Taylor Wright also showed great promise, especially in the second half of the season, working her way into the starting lineup until an injury sidelined her for the last few games.

The women's basketball team's progress this season did not show up in the stats.
Sophomores Chelsea Arnold, left, and Shelby Mellon made key contributions.

While the record suggests less than a solid season, there were many bright spots and multiple reasons for optimism as Tenaglia and his freshmen look to next season. In addition to the return of Sobkowiak, Laurenti, Walsh and Wright, the Lady Vikings also expect to have Heather Gurdon back in the lineup, the Vikings’ leading returning scorer before she tore her ACL in the first scrimmage in the fall.  The experience of these returning players, along with the talents of some incoming freshmen, could help the Lady Vikings get back to their winning ways. 

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