Freshmen playing important role on women's basketball team

Greg Cornwell | Staff Photographer Junior guard Da'Jourie Turner dashes down court Saturday against Ohio at McGuirk Arena. The Chippewas lost to the Bobcats, 74-66.

Youth has not been a major characteristic of the Central Michigan University women’s basketball team in recent seasons.

Many of the teams that have played in the maroon and gold have featured a class of seniors blazing a trail for the freshmen to follow in the seasons to come.

For this season’s freshmen, it is a different story.

“Coach (Sue) Guevara is pushing us to do bigger and better things,” freshman Cassandra Breen said. “We are going to be the majority of the team next year. We are going to have to teach the things we learned to the next class. We don’t have time to be freshmen. We have to step up.”

Following injuries to senior point guard Jessica Green and sophomore Jewel Cotton, this season’s group of freshmen has been called upon to contribute more than expected.

Last season only one true freshman played 40 minutes. This season, five true freshmen have combined to play 788 minutes.

“I’ve said I will play freshmen if they produce in practice ever since I started here,” Head Coach Sue Guevara said. “I don’t care what year you are.”

Guevara has a history of producing talented young players. Six athletes have earned Mid-American Conference All-Freshman Team honors in the Guevara era and two players, Niki DiGuilio and Brandie Baker have won MAC Freshman of the Year honors.

“(Guevara) is really good at coaching freshmen,” Tinara Moore, another freshman said. “She will take her time and explain to us what she wants. She is very passionate. She makes me excited to play for her.”

Managing the highs and lows of young players is one of the biggest challenges of coaching a young team, Guevara said.

“I’ve had to be as patient as I possibly can to get our players to make good decisions,” Guevara said. “We need to teach them that they are going to make mistakes; they just can’t make the same mistake over and over. “