Women’s basketball still a work in progress

Highly-touted freshman Dani Haskell scored 12 points in her collegiate debut on Sunday against Buffalo. (Tom Wolf, Canisius Athletics/GoGriffs)

Despite an 87-45 loss at the hands of Buffalo on Sunday, Canisius women’s basketball is taking positives out of the game as they look to work out the kinks early in the season.

The Griffs did not have a long pause during the fall practice season but like every other team, started practicing late and did not have as much time to prepare for the season.

The main problem this fall was having enough players to practice with. Sunday’s game was the first time all year that they had 10 healthy players ready to go. Because of that, they were never able to go five-on-five during a practice session. However, head coach Scott Hemer believed that there were positives to take out of the game despite what the final score was.

“For us to be able to go out and execute some of the things the way we did, it was a step in the right direction. I thought mentally, they didn’t have a ‘woe is me’ mindset as they played and those were all positives,” Hemer said Tuesday.

He said the biggest positives were holding Dyaisha Fair, who averaged 28 points per game in the Bulls’ first two games of the year to 17 points and Hanna Hall, who was averaging 16 points per game coming in, to just five points on 2-8 shooting.

“To be able to do those things, that’s certainly a plus,” Hemer said.

Highly-touted freshman Dani Haskell scored 12 points in her collegiate debut, leading the Griffs. Haskell, a highly-decorated high school player from Franklinville High School near Olean, is someone the team believes can be a star for four years.

“There’s certainly going to be an acclimation period for any first-year and she’s certainly going to have some highs and lows but I’ll tell you, I think she’s pretty far along for a freshman. She’s not timid, she’s smart, those are the kinds of kids you start to build programs around,” Hemer said.

Scheduling the game to begin with was tough. Hemer said that before this, the team had a scrimmage canceled due to a positive COVID test in another program. They also had a game against St. Bonaventure all but set to be played but was canceled due to a positive test in that program. In addition, they had discussed playing a game with Colgate, but the administration at Colgate decided to not allow the team to play non-conference games.

“The question is, we were practicing in the middle of November with seven players. Going into late November, early December, how many games do you want to play if you end up having seven or eight kids that are cleared and able to play, how much travel is worth jeopardizing conference play in the grand scheme of things. Those were all some of the challenges that came into what we were dealing with,” Hemer said.

Overall, Hemer is glad they were able to get a game in before starting conference play, which kicks off on Friday on the road against Marist.

“There’s a lot we have to get better at yet. Hopefully as we start to develop some continuity with our numbers, some of the chemistry and things on the floor, we’ll improve.”

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