SAN MARCOS – The women’s basketball team will start the season off strong with new and returning players, and an iron will to win. The Telescope caught up with Head Coach, Leigh Marshall, and freshman Evelyn Terreza to learn more about their training and goals for the season ahead.
On Wednesday, Nov. 3, the Comets went to Los Angeles to take on L.A. Trade-Tech for their first game of the season. In anticipation of the game, coach Marshall and the team have been training hard. Marshall, who has been coaching at Palomar for 12 seasons (13 had it not been for the pandemic) commented on the high standards that players are held to, “I let them know it’s going to be one of the hardest things you’ve done. Because your idea of working hard and ours is probably very different. We’re, go go go, we don’t stop,” said Marshall over Zoom.
Marshall emphasized the importance of mental toughness in combination with physical conditioning. Practices involve splitting players into groups and running competitive drills. Marshall explained that this style of practicing teaches players how to apply the techniques they’re learning under pressure; simulating the sense of urgency that they would feel during a real game. “When you get to a game a lot of the girls who’ve played for us will say the same thing; games are easy compared to practice,” said Marshall.
It isn’t all blood sweat and tears though, off the court players enjoy team-building events like rock climbing and movie nights.
Their rigorous practice and strong connection are certainly not without results. The Comets have been top 10 in the state for the last eight years and have made the Elite Eight (the remaining 8 teams out of 98 in the country) six times.
When asked about the team’s goals for the season, Marshall was straight and to the point: Win. Win the day in practice, win each game, win conference, and then win the state title. “Really we just take it piece by piece, but with the long-term goal in mind,” she said.
One of the challenges of community college sports, though, is that it’s a “revolving door” as described by Marshall. It’s a double-edged sword in that new talent is constantly arriving, but they’re only around for two or three years.
This season, Palomar will see the return of last year’s Southern California Player of the Year, Deajanae Harvey. Marshall is also excited to welcome back Faith Schwantner, who she described as, “one of the best defenders we’ve ever had.”
Among this season’s freshmen is point guard, Evelyn Terreza. She’s currently working her way back from a knee injury but continues looking for every opportunity to support her teammates. Terreza is a testament to the Comet’s iron will and camaraderie. Over an email, she told the Telescope that she feels like her team is really learning what it means to be a Comet; “to be tough, hard-working, and coachable,” she continued, “we will always hype up every single person on our team and we would run through a brick wall for each other.”
For more info on the Women’s Basketball Team click here.