It’s a Monday morning, but for Coach Beth O’Boyle it’s a chance to talk about something very exciting – the season opener for women’s basketball in her inaugural year at VCU. What we love about Coach O’Boyle is the positive energy that she brings to a room and the enthusiasm she has for her program. She’s not just picking up the tempo on the court; she’s taking it everywhere which will be quite a few destinations in the upcoming weeks.
The Rams have a very challenging schedule early on that includes 6 games in 12 days, which doesn’t give the coaching staff much time to prep between games or the players much time to rest. In fact the team plays their first 2 games at home and then doesn’t have the home court advantage again until December 14. That’s a long time to be away from the Siegel Center and the fans, but O’Boyle isn’t worried. Despite the time the team will spend on buses, planes, in hotels, and on other courts she’s confident that the players will take to being road warriors as easily as they bought into her style of play.
She’s also convinced that the depth of the team will allow them to keep the up tempo pace. Being able to rotate the players and spread out the minutes will allow them to keep fresh legs on the court. Right now everyone is healthy and ready to play an actual game against someone new. One thing that O’Boyle has employed to enhance the competitive atmosphere is a team of male practice players that scrimmage the team in practice. According to O’Boyle “When a guy sends your shot into the second row it reiterates the value of a pump fake.” We’ve seen it in action and it really does change the tempo.
It’s a balance…how much teaching we do in practice to how much tempo. We want to be up tempo. We want to go…There’s a lot of teaching the aspects of our offense as well as some of the finer points of our defense. For us as a coaching staff it’s always been a balance…of trying not to overwhelm them with too many new things but also being able to repeat it enough that they understand it.” Coach Beth O’Boyle
That continued balance will be key as the team moves into play. November will be about playing and December will be about teaching and is dictated by the schedule. The pre-season conditioning, intense schedule, and the moments the staff does get with the players between games should build a strong foundation for when the team heads into conference play. The enthusiasm and energy of the coaching staff and the players should make for a very exciting year of women’s basketball!
You can see them in action Friday November 14 at 7pm against Wagner and Sunday November 16 at 1pm against Presbyterian at the Siegel Center before they start earning that road warrior status.