The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Women’s Basketball begins first season under Coach Roysland

The 2014-2015 Women’s Basketball team poses in front of the Leonard Center. Photo courtesy of Macalester College Athletics.
The 2014-2015 Women's Basketball team poses in front of the Leonard Center. Photo courtesy of Macalester College Athletics.
The 2014-2015 Women’s Basketball team poses in front of the Leonard Center. Photo courtesy of Macalester College Athletics.

A year ago the Macalester Women’s basketball team finished 5-20 and lost its coach midway through the summer — a combination that does not leave much room for optimism. But thanks to first-year coach Kelly Roysland the team is confident, ready to work hard and improve.

Roysland, a 2007 graduate of the University of Minnesota, was hired in August. She played four seasons of basketball for the Golden Gophers, appearing in three NCAA Tournaments, including a Final Four appearance, and serving as team captain her senior year. After graduating with a degree in sports management, Roysland earned a masters in exercise science. She has coached for both North Dakota State University and the University of Minnesota.

Joining Roysland on the coaching staff are assistants Courtney Euerle and Jordi Gerking. Euerle was the 2013-2014 MIAC Player of the Year for St. Mary’s.

With two high school teachers and coaches for parents, Roysland always knew coaching was where she would end up. “[Growing up] I was always in the gym and around that atmosphere,” Roysland said. “After I was done playing basketball at the U, I was just finishing up school and I really missed being a part of the team. Ultimately, that’s why I choose to coach. I was good as a player and I thought maybe I could share what I know with others and it’s been a great fit so far.”

Roysland draws on her experience playing at a high level to connect with and teach her players. “I am able to not only explain things, but demonstrate and give a visual,” she said. “And hopefully I bring a lot of energy, excitement and fun to practice. I think the reason why I love coaching is that I get to interact with my players on a daily basis.”

Annie Drabot ’15 appreciates that “[Roysland] is young and she can relate to us a little more. She’s very clear on what she wants and brings a lot of energy.”

This is the first time Roysland has stepped into the head coaching role and her first time working with Division III. “I feel like I’ve been involved in athletics at different levels but during the interview process I just felt it was a great fit for a lot of reasons,” Rosland said. “It’s a great institution with really high level academics. This is an opportunity to work with very bright individuals that are driven in many areas.”

While acknowledging that some adjustments have been hard, Roysland feels the Scots are ready to open their season. The first game will be at home against Crown College on Tuesday, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. “I’ve implemented a structured motion that allows for some guiding principles and puts people in certain spaces but also allows for a lot of freedom,” Roysland said.

Despite the loss of seven seniors, the Scots bring back their leading scorer from a year ago in Erin Murray ’16. Roysland is looking for significant contributions in leadership and play from Drabot, the sole senior on the team. Additionally, Katelyn Kack ’16, Park Masterson ’17 and Grace Dickman ’17 are expected to see expanded playing time. “[Our players] are really kind of coming into their own and knowing that they have to take on a bigger role than they did last year,” Roysland said. “I think a lot of people will be able to bring a variety of strengths and contribute in different ways instead of just focusing on one or two players to carry the team.”

Joining the team this season are six first years: “The first years have shown me quite a few things as well and they’ll be some surprises in that group,” Roysland said.

In getting to know the players Roysland feels only so much can be found in the stat sheets from last season, however the numbers do reveal a few key areas of improvement for the Scots. “It’s been fun for me to learn what each player’s strengths and weaknesses are as we’ve had the chance to practice,” she said.

Roysland is looking at the little things to build success, from holding teams to under 60 points per game to improving free-throw percentage. She’s preached ball movement and taking more shots from inside as well as improving the team’s three-point shooting. “These are measurable goals that are very achievable. If we can focus on those goals, that will take care of the big picture stuff and the wins and losses,” Roysland said. “Versus saying we want to win x-amount of games, bringing it down and presenting it to them in that fashion is a little bit easier to manage and set your sights on.”

The schedule for this season will feature more non-conference matchups early — a time in which the Scots hope to build momentum. “[That part of your schedule] just gives you different opponents and different opportunities against teams you don’t normally see. I think the conference play in the MIAC can be very long and grueling because you are playing against the same teams all the time. You know each other very well and so it’s refreshing to start out against some different opponents. Time to get the rust off and improve on some things before you head into conference play,” Roysland said.

With the season just around the corner, the team is ready for its shot. “We’re all pretty excited to get after it and get some wins,” Drabot said.

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