FMU women’s basketball team heads into new season

Armand Broady, Sports Writer

After finishing last season with a record of 27-5, fans of Francis Marion’s women’s basketball team expect another banner year.

Under new head coach Kate Glusko, the Patriots’ women’s basketball team returns eight letter-winners, including two starters from last year’s team who finished second in the Peach Belt Conference’s eastern division.

Coach Kate Glusko recognized the talent that she has inherited from former FMU women’s head coach Heather Macy, who is now the head coach of East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C., but Glusko feels no pressure.

“I feel this program has high expectations and we want to win the Peach Belt Conference,” Glusko explained. “Our players also have high expectations and believe that if we stay focused, the sky is the limit.”

Key players returning for the Francis Marion’s women’s basketball team that finished 20th in the nation last season include leading scorer two-time All-Peach Belt selection and two-time honorable mention All-American Shannon Singleton-Bates and last year’s Peach Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year Robin Colbert.

According to predictions from the official Peach Belt Conference website, the defending league champion, Lander University women’s basketball team, has been chosen as the unanimous choice to win the conference this season, with the Patriots finishing third in the poll. However, Glusko believes that the biggest opponent for the Patriots is the Patriots.

“We know that we have all the talent in the world and believe that we can take that next step to cut down the nets and win the Peach Belt Conference,” Glusko said.

The Patriots were second in the nation in scoring offense last season with 89.7 points per game. Defensively, the Patriots forced 29.8 turnovers per game against their opponents. Glusko likes the up-tempo, fast-paced, back-and-forth way the Patriots play.

“On offense, we want to keep our explosiveness,” Glusko said. “And defense is high on our priority list.”

According to Glusko, what makes the team even greater is the chemistry they share. Senior Robin Colbert is described as the glue that holds the team together. With their new team motto, “We got better today,” the Patriots value togetherness and toughness. The Patriots believe firmly in scrapping and hustling on every place.

Glusko applauds her team for the way they practice.

“We’ve had our players getting injured, scratched and banged up in practice while hustling for loose balls,” Glusko said. “The competitiveness is definitely there.”

With the community fully behind Glusko and the team, Glusko just wants her Patriots to stay focused daily and keep a hungry mentality. Not only has the community been providing support for the new head coach, but Coach Edwards and the men’s basketball team are behind the women’s team as well.

“Coach Edwards is a great guy who knows that, in the end, we’re all FMU,” Glusko said.

The 2010-11 campaign begins for the Patriots’ women’s basketball team on Nov. 12 at Fayetteville State, with their first home game against Morris College on Nov. 23.