November 11, 2022 | SPORTS | By Charlie Rounaghi
The Colorado College Women’s Basketball team opened this year with a statement exhibition game win on Oct. 30 against their Division II rivals, The University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. The UCCS Mountain Lions were no match for the defensive intensity and three-point attack they encountered at Reid Arena.
This 2022-23 season team stars a quartet of seniors ready to take center stage.
Coming off back-to-back season-ending losses in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship to Trinity University, the program returned its entire roster and added four first years with one goal in mind: revenge.
Tedy Reed ’23 has high confidence, as she leads a hard-nosed group of returning players into her final season.
“We’ve worked extremely hard; this has been the most prepared we have been going into the season,” said Reed. “We can beat anyone.”
The Colorado College Women are led by experienced head coach Katherine Menendez. Seniors Anna Fanelli, Rosie Braley, Talia Cloud and Reed have all been major contributors for the past three years but have been left heartbroken in the winner-take-all championship games and are eager to play their Last Dance together heading into the 2022-23 season.
The seniors on this team radiate a feeling of unfaltering conviction, along with a sense of urgency, and it has spread throughout the rest of the team.
“Without the work of these seniors, our program would be nowhere near what it is today,” said guard Laura Strenk ‘25. “We owe them so much for that.”
“I cannot tell you how much of an impact that the senior group has made on every player,” Strenk continued. “I’ve had the privilege of playing with them for one year and I know how special it was, so this year I am certain that we will treat every game like it’s the seniors’ last.”
This group has experience playing every game like it is their last.
Fanelli, the senior point guard, is tired of watching Trinity hold up the Conference trophy and believes this year will be different.
“This is the best team I have played on while being at CC,” said Fanelli. “Many people and teams still count us out but we know how good we are. And if we keep our consistency going, we are going to be really, really good.”
The Tigers were picked to finish second in the 2022-23 SCAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll behind, you guessed it, league favorite Trinity University.
Fanelli, looking to add to her historic career as a Tiger, broke the SCAC single-season record last year, averaging 8.9 assists per game and earning a spot-on the First-Team All-Conference roster. Her vision, decision making, and assertiveness on the court makes her one of the most elite point guards in the country.
Strenk, who shares the backcourt with Fanelli, spoke of her experience playing with one of the nation’s best playmakers.
“I have never had a teammate with such a high basketball IQ on and off the court,” said Strenk. “I have learned so much from her just from my first year. She has so much composure as a leader and a player; I am thrilled I get another year to play alongside Anna.”
Throughout training camp, Fanelli has seen enough of the four first-year players to believe they will provide an instant boost to the team.
“The first years have done a great job of coming in ready to go,” said Fanelli. “They contribute so much to the team and fill in some of the missing pieces that we may have lacked last year. They add a lot of depth to this team.”
After sharing the First-Team All-Conference distinction with Fanelli last year, forward Captain Audrey Bayston ‘24 is ready to add to her successful 2021-22 campaign. Bayston led the Tigers in scoring last year, averaging just under 14 points per game.
The aura around this team is different than in years’ past. The players believe that their experience, depth and chemistry will push them over the hump to achieve something no other CC basketball team has ever accomplished.
If it’s going to happen, it starts from the top,” said Reed. “Us four seniors have some of the best chemistry you will ever find on a team. We’ve been conjoined at the hip since freshman year.”
Reed continued discussing the dynamic among the senior players. “We all bring something different, both personality and skill wise — it kind of makes us all pieces of a whole. Seeing this program improve throughout our four years and making it to the SCAC championship game these last two has left a chip on our shoulder to leave our mark at Colorado College by making the NCAA tournament.”
The Tigers will start the regular season and their quest to make history on Friday, Nov. 11 at Reid Arena against Concordia University Chicago.
“This is going to be one special year for CC Women’s Basketball,” said Fanelli.