Grenfell is a junior public relations and management double major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With our first game right around the corner, it only makes sense to familiarize everyone with our newcomers. This year, we have four freshmen and one junior college transfer — a grand total of five people that get to experience Division I basketball for the first time ever! I still remember my first day as a freshman. All I have to say about that is “yikes.” Let’s just say there were countless bricked layups, bobbled passes and air balls. If you saw it first-hand, you would probably question whether or not I had played basketball before. Yeah, you laugh. But it wasn’t amusing at the time!
I’m pleased to announce that none of our newcomers were as flustered as I was on my first day. While we did spend an entire summer together to ease some of the nerves, overall they came in and continued to make an impact. They are an exciting bunch, both on and off the basketball court. Building team chemistry is always an interesting process. Five new people with completely different backgrounds, personalities and strengths on top of our already diverse crew, but somehow and some way our team is molded into one unit. It isn’t easy — but we always get there.
First up is Dilonna “DJ” Johnson. Dilonna, first off, isn’t a very shy person. At this point in her career, she has already stood up in front of a crowd of roughly 150 people and sang. It was impressive, I might add. All of us are hoping she can use that type of confidence on the basketball court! DJ is a crafty player. She understands the significance of a good pass. And when her jumper is on, look out. I guarded her at a lot in pick-up games this summer, and I swear she’d have days where she didn’t miss. Instead of blaming my defense (or lack there of), I’ll credit her mad skills.
Lex Eckles is another one of our freshmen. Her athleticism and mean ability to block shots will surely come into play at some point this season. There is no reason she can’t be a lock down defender and rebounder for us. She is tough to stop when she gets in her groove. Lex is also known for her uncanny ability to impersonate people. She has a plethora of voices she can imitate, and I will be the first to tell you that nine times out of 10 they are spot on. We can always count on her for a laugh! That is if she isn’t online shoe and sock shopping.
If you have spotted a tall redhead around campus this year, you probably saw Emma Donahue. I’ve been most impressed by Emma’s touch around the basket. People always joke with her about being the next Rachael Hackbarth (last year’s Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year), but one of these days it won’t be a joke! Her potential to be a dominant post in our league is definitely there.
Ashley “Bart” Bartow is the last of our freshmen. I would consider Bart a hard-nosed type of player. She can do a little bit of everything, but she is best when driving to the hoop. She will be tough to stop — she puts her head down and goes! And if she is open around the perimeter, you can count on her to knock that shot down. Every day Bart’s personality continues to shine through! Her Wisconsin accent is one of her many unique qualities. It’s one of my favorite things to give her a hard time about. But no worries, she can take the heat.
Last but not least is our junior college transfer, Mary Pat “MP” Specht. Her biggest strength is her ability to shoot the ball! It isn’t uncommon to see her getting up extra shots before or after practice. MP definitely has high drive and determination. It is quite amazing how well she has adjusted to practices and workouts considering she has never played at this level before. Having someone like her to compete with is an awesome deal.