Mount St. Mary’s is a university that shows great support for the women’s basketball team. The program has a tradition of upholding those expectations. Last year, bringing in Maria Marchesano was a sign the program is looking to continue its ascension back to the top of the Northeast Conference.
“The cool thing about being at the Mount in year one, was seeing how much of a basketball community this is,” Marchesano told CBB Today.
The Mount announced Marchesano as the new head coach of the women’s basketball team in 2017. She is the sixth coach in the program’s history. The Mountaineers are continuing to improve as they compete to win the Northeast Conference.
Under her leadership, the offense is one of the first things seeing vast improvements. The most compelling evidence of this is that Mount St. Mary’s averaged 63.9 points per game in Marchesano’s first year. She was able to input a more up-tempo style of offense, something her players have clearly benefited from.
This style has allowed players such as Juliette Lawless and Daly Sullivan to grow as players. Last season, Lawless and Sullivan earned All-NEC honors. Lawless, the 5-foot-9 senior from Mahopac, New York, averaged 11.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game. She was named the Most Improved Player in the NEC and was named All-NEC Third team. With this in mind, Lawless is back this year for Marchesano and the Mountaineers.
“Juliette has been awesome for us. She’s our lone senior and the only junior we have is a JuCo transfer so Ju is really our only upperclassmen,” spoke Marchesano. “She used the summer to work on her shot and her handles and I think both areas will only add to her already dangerous attack.”
Along with Lawless, Sullivan also earned All-NEC honors by being named to the All-Rookie team in the conference. The 5-foot-8 guard from South Bend, Indiana averaged 10.1 points per game and made 75 3-pointers last season.
Thanks to the returning talent, as well as the foundation of success she’s already established, Maria Marchesano knows the expectation is winning the Northeast Conference. Besides Lawless (the lone senior) and Sullivan, the plan is to do it with numerous young players.
“We definitely have some talent on the roster this year, but we also have some key injuries,” stated Maria Marchesano. “Because of that, we will have quite a few freshmen getting a lot of minutes this year. Anytime you have a good amount of youth in your rotation, it is very hard to have expectations on what could or should be accomplished. We will take some early bumps and definitely make some silly mistakes along the way, but hopefully with the early non-conference experience, these young kids can be more prepared come conference season.”
Be that as it may, Marchesano is trying to build on the tradition of women’s basketball at Mount St. Mary’s. She’s had prior coaching experience before arriving at Emmitsburg. Before The Mount, Marchesano was an assistant coach at IUPUI under head coach Austin Parkinson. Prior to IUPUI, Marchesano was the head coach of Walsh University.
While at Walsh, the Cavaliers won 52 games under her watch. This includes back-to-back 20-win seasons and two GLIAC Tournament Final Four appearances.
Henceforth, Marchesano is using what she learned at IUPUI and Walsh, instilling those lessons to her players at Mount St. Mary’s.
“The biggest thing we are trying to create here at the Mount that both the Walsh and IUPUI programs had is a culture of toughness and accountability, “stated Marchesano. “You can accomplish a lot of things on the court just by being tough and disciplined. We have made huge strides here in one year in both of those areas and we as a staff continue to harp on those things daily.”
With that mindset, Marchesano is being the leader that it takes to help make Mount St. Mary’s a successful program. Not to mention she knows what it takes to be a competitive athlete. Marchesano was a two sport athlete at Butler University, having played both basketball and softball.
“Being from Indiana and playing at Butler was a great experience. In my four years there, our program went from really bad to very respectable in a short amount of time,” mentioned Marchesano. “I was able to see at a young age the amount of work that goes into turning a program around and doing it the right way. I have been able to lean on those experiences in all three of my head coaching positions, and no doubt it has helped me have success.”
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