UNCW women’s basketball looks to bounce back this season

Bailey Swogger, Sports Editor

After a lackluster 2021-2022 season, with only three wins and nothing to show for in the CAA Tournament, the UNCW women’s basketball team looks to turn around the program with leadership from interim head coach Tina Martin. Coach Martin isn’t exactly new to this situation as she turned around a six-win Delaware team in 1998 to conference champions just three years later.

“I think it starts with the attitude of the current players of wanting to really set the legacy, meaning coming in here every single day and changing the culture,” says Coach Martin on how this group can make a similar turnaround. “Working as hard as they can, which they are right now, then you continue to bring in good players who can help the program get better and better and better, and then the veteran players that you started to work with in the first place which is this year’s team, they have to continue to get better and better and continue that great work ethic…”

Coach Martin may have only been interim head coach for less than a year, but in her time in Wilmington as an assistant she’s already been able to instill plenty of lessons and a great mentality in her players. 

Junior Mary McMillan says, “No one is going to give you anything, you have to go out there and take it, you have to earn it,” is something that Coach Martin has really instilled in the team. Freshman McCall King adds, “This is going to be a winning year, she’s set the tone early and I really appreciate that about her.”

Something that sticks out about this year’s squad is how much of a close knit group they are. Coach Martin drilled home the emphasis on “playing for each other” and multiple players mentioned how much fun they have on and off the court. 

“They are really eager to learn, they’re very coachable,” says Coach Martin. This is maybe the most important thing about this year’s Hawks, especially from a coach’s perspective.

UNCW women’s basketball against Northeastern on Feb. 28, 2020 at Trask Coliseum. (Erin Howard/The Seahawk)

Many of the players also really emphasized discipline. Grad student Asia Henderson says, “We’re really disciplined this year. I think discipline more than anything is my favorite thing about this year.” She adds that her other favorite things about this year’s team are “the chemistry, the energy, [and] the discipline.”

The energy can’t go unnoticed when talking about this team, and the energy from most basketball teams starts from none other than the point guard. “As a point guard you have to [bring energy],” says McMillan. “[E]verything starts through you, you bring the ball up, you call the plays so everything is going through you. Me bringing energy, as I go the team goes and I feel that’s important…”

McMillan also adds some of her personal goals as the point guard of the team. “I would like to become even more of a leader, as the point guard that’s something you have to do, making sure my teammates are in the right spot and being more efficient.”

McMillan is one of the three captains, along with Carrie Gross and Micah Hoggatt, that Coach Martin speaks very highly of. “Those three ladies have come back and they’re ready to really contribute and be coachable and try to get this turned around.”

Coach Martin has one final message to deliver to the students and fans before the season and urges for the community to come out and support this year’s team. “They’re gonna play hard, they’re gonna play together. Everyone likes a basketball team that’s enthusiastic, is gonna take charges, is gonna share the basketball, and is gonna represent UNCW well.” She mentioned how great of an atmosphere Trask can be and she wants to make it the toughest environment in the CAA  like it is for the men’s program. “We need help, we need the sixth man, we need the support of the students, please come out and support these young ladies.”

Coach Martin urges the fans to come out and see how this team has “transformed into a team you can be proud of.” She finishes her pitch to the fans by saying her players would respond well to the support of the fans and to “come out and cheer the Seahawks on because we’re ready to give our best effort.”

The Seahawks host Virginia Union in an exhibition match at 2 p.m. on October 29 followed by their first game against Lenoir-Rhyne on November 7. Both games will be streamed on FloHoops.com.

For more on UNCW Women’s Basketball, follow @UNCWwomenshoops on social media or visit UNCWsports.com.