Not long ago, PYB’s HoopHers program was announced and in it’s first run expectations were hopeful to what the program could eventually become. A couple weeks later, the program wrapped up its very successful, inaugural season with a March Madness style tournament. During the tourney, many parents and families watched on as their girls played as a unit (regardless of their ages and skill levels) and left it all out on the court to win the first title.
Between the Final Four and the Championship game, Cherelle Dennis (Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach at Lincoln University) spoke to the girls in the customary “A Woman’s Word” guest lecture series, that is meant to engage the girls in discussions over many topics. Coach Dennis explained to them the importance of what it takes to be a student-athlete at the college level, importance of education, and how you end up on a collegiate team.Coach Dennis discussed that while the on-court factor is important, she also made sure to emphasize the magnitude of education. The importance of SATs/ACTs, receiving tutoring if needed, and extra practice are all necessary items to improving your skills in the classroom. It is like the game of Basketball, you need to treat everything to how you improve your game. If your right hand is weak you then practice dribbling and shooting with your right hand. This same notion, while not easy, can loosely be applied to education. The best way to improve your math skills is through repeated exercises (PYB uses NBA Math Hoops to assist with math literacy). Coach Dennis then opened the discussion to the girls to ask any questions, they were not shy in the slightest. Bouncing questions left and right off coach on a number of topics just they quick thinking minds is apparent on and off the court.
Once the time had run up on the discussion, gameplay was to be resumed. In the Championship game, team UPENN pulled out the win and were our HoopHers league champions. The play by all the teams was very encouraging and left lots of excitement in the air. The culmination of HoopHers Final Night left many with high spirits on what is to come in the next year!
Our amazing HoopHers Commissioner, Di’anna Palmer offers her thoughts on HoopHers inaugural season: “The very first HoopHers basketball league has totally exceeded all of my expectations I had prior to the start! I believe what made it so successful was the fact that the league is 100% female led; our girls were constantly surrounded by intelligent, powerful, and successful women every night who can actively serve as role model and positive reinforcements within their young lives. As we continue to build the HoopHers brand, we hope to continue to reach a wider range of female student-athletes and incorporate events throughout the year to remain connected with our HoopHers family! This is only the beginning and I am so excited for the future of HoopHers!
Thank you to all of the speakers and their encouraging words of wisdom that they discussed with our HoopHers student-athletes. We look forward to who will be speakers next year.
Recap of Speakers (and their topics):
- Robin Hart (“Girl Power: Self-Esteem and Body Image”)
- Mari Rubin (“Pilated Instructor — Topic of Her Choice”)
- Brooke Queenan (“What it takes to Make IT: How to Excel as a Student-Athlete”)
- Daniela Voith (“Tale of Female Leadership”)
- Julia Rae (“Overcoming Obstacles”)
- Avery Marz (“Getting over the Hump; Never Giving Up”)
- Cherelle Dennis (“What it takes to become a College Athlete: Open Forum”)