By Dan Bruno
She’s been playing basketball since she’s been able to run, and the team she’s playing with is “incomparable to no other,” she said. She is Amanda Brisson and she is only one of 10 female basketball players for the Sharks team.
Off to a quick 10-5 start, the Sharks, under 18-year head coach Kevin Foley, are on a 7-game winning streak and outscoring opponents by an average of 437-278 points during that stretch.
“This team is by far the most fun group of people I’ve played with,” Brisson said. “Everyone wants to be here and it makes me love the game.”
Brisson and the Sharks won the regional championship last year and while they’re holding onto that memory, the near future shows another regional visit for Brisson and her teammates.
“After winning regionals and going to nationals last year, it definitely makes me want to do it all again,” Brisson said. “It was the best college experience I’ve had and the best feeling knowing we were the best of the best.”
The Sharks will look to regain their regional title again for 2012, with no loss of confidence and trust.
“We want to win again 100 percent and go back to Minnesota and actually dominate at nationals,” she said. “We have the chemistry and drive to make it again and I would love to be apart of another winning season.”
Katie Krauss, a former liberal arts major, used to attend games regularly and cheered on the women’s basketball team “religiously,” she said.
“I just think if you’re going to be a participant of the school you should get involved in other ways, not just be a student,” she said. “Everyone should find their niche and mine was the women’s Sharks basketball team.”
For Brisson, it was different, but only because she wanted to play instead of watch.
“I definitely suggest that people tryout for their high school teams if they aren’t involved in anything else,” she said. “It’s a good way to make new friends and keep fit.”
Although Brisson is at the college now, she plans to move on to a four-year school and continue her basketball endeavors.
“Here, it’s definitely a huge difference from high school but it’s worth all the sweat and tears,” she said. “I’ve found life long friends playing for the college.”
She might not be going far, either.
“I’m a homebody, and I’ll prefer a state school because it’s more affordable as well,” she said. “This school will help me achieve this goal of moving on with my basketball career because of the great support of my teammates and coaches,” she said. “They help me as much as they can to get me where I want to be not only in basketball, but in life.”
Head coach Kevin Foley and assistant coaches Kerry Swanson and Jessica Santiago also have a big impact on Brisson’s life.
“My goal is to learn as much as I can from them,” she said. “They’re like second parents to me and always want what is best for me.”
Liberal arts major from the eastern campus Ali Ergul also loves that the women’s team is doing so well.
“Women don’t usually get as much recognition in sports as men do and it’s great that they’re doing what they’re doing,” he said. “I’m very proud of the team in that aspect for giving these young women the opportunity to have fun and compete at a higher level.”
These sharks are just as grateful for the opportunity to show their skill-set to make professional playing a possibility. Brisson’s biggest influence isn’t Michael Jordan though. It isn’t Lebron James either. It’s her father.
“I know people want me to say Jordan or James, but that isn’t the case at all,” she said. “My dad has definitely been the biggest basketball influence in my life since I was a kid.
Brisson, since she learned to run, was playing basketball and with the help of her dad, they found many fond memories.
“He would always take me outside and shoot around with me and teach me different things,” she said. “If he didn’t push me as much as he does I wouldn’t be playing or love the game,” she said. “He’s always been my best coach and my biggest fan.”