“Colleen, you’re the one. Julie, you’re the two. Kim, you’re the three. Erin, you’re the four. Katy, you’re the five. At the 17-minute mark, go!”
As the season has progressed, the Muhlenberg women’s basketball team has become accustomed to hearing Coach Ron Rohn emphatically calling for a hockey-style “line change” at different points during the game. “The System,” as it is called, is a way of rotating players in for short spans at a time – five in and five out. Since we know we won’t be in for very long, we are encouraged to go all out and work our butts off by trapping all over the court and pushing the ball after the other team turns it over. The goal is to wear the other team down by utilizing our conditioning and deep bench.
Having 18 girls on a team is, at first glance, completely overwhelming. However, “The System” is a way for all players to be involved, even if it means only for two minutes in the first half. I can guarantee that if you are working as hard as Coach Rohn wants you to be, you will be winded after that small amount of time anyway.
Sometimes we play fullcourt man-to-man defense, and we must pressure the other team all the way down the court to the other end. Other times we run all over the court trying to trap, tip passes and shoot the gap to get steals. Coach finds it crucial to put in people with fresh legs in this style of play so that they are prepared to exert the effort it takes to be successful.
And though it can be a bit hectic, playing this type of basketball has proven to be effective thus far, for our team is undefeated heading into Winter Break. In addition, we are averaging over 80 points a game, as is the men’s team.
Now that we are all home in our different states, we have two weeks to relax and spend time with our families. When we get back on January 1st, however, it’s back to working hard to get better as a team. We know what we want to accomplish this season: win the conference, make a run in the NCAA Tournament, and hopefully do as well as we did there last year, even better.
But until it is time to get back to practicing daily, we’ll be eating Christmas cookies and enjoying time with our families, sneaking in a run here and there. It truly is “the most wonderful time of the year.” And ending 2011 an undefeated team, makes it that much more exciting for the New Year of basketball to begin.