Patrick Danielson ‘21 

Sports Writer

Inside the Huddle: Head Coach Gayle Fulks motivates her players during a timeout. Since Fulks took over the program, the team has seen tremendous progress every season. Photos courtesy of Tim Cowie; Davidson Sports and Information.

The women’s basketball team has come into the conference season red hot, winning their first five games in a row after a 7-6 non-conference performance. The team is finding their footing in a big way, behind the play of guards such as Suzi-Rose Deegan ‘23 and Katie Turner ‘21, as well as forwards such as Adelaide Fuller ‘23 and Sarah Donovan ‘20. 

They have managed to run a fantastic offense, shooting over 40% in total, and a competent defense, getting turnovers on 17% of possessions. 

The conference season started off against Saint Louis, who was defeated by seven points, followed by Fordham, Rhode Island, George Mason, and finally George Washington, each of whom were beaten by at least seven points. 

After being picked to finish fifth in the conference by the A-10 women’s coaches, the Wildcats have stormed into third place, looming just out of top position.

The team is feeling this success in every moment these days, especially after a middling non-conference season. At the start of the conference games, the team adopted a blank slate mentality.

“Our record is 0-0, this is a new season, we are starting over, we are going to work towards our goal,” said forward Alana Davidson ‘21. “As soon as we started, we said our goal was to be A-10 champions, so we have that everywhere. We have that in our locker room, we have that in our film room, we huddle around the A-10 logo when we start practice,” Alana continued.

As Head Coach Gayle Fulks reiterated, “That’s what’s been driving us from the very start and helping us on our day-to-day routine; that’s what we’re striving for every day.”

To get to this point, the team has gone through minor and major-scale preparation for each game and the year overall. They  try to see each game as an individual event, where “We put together a game plan that’s really focused on making that game difficult for our opponent and easier for us.” Coach Fulks says, “We’ve been a pretty disruptive team that has been able to apply a lot of ball pressure to teams and help wear them out, and we’ve also been a very good transition offense team.”

But there are also off-court ways the team stays focused and on the cutting edge. The locker room atmosphere, and how the players interact with each other and with outside forces have been key.  

According to guard Turner, the team atmosphere has been supportive and helpful all season. “The A-10 is a tough conference, and the thing that really separates us is our unity and our toughness […] At this point it is an unspoken trust, we really are a group of thirteen best friends, we know each other inside and out.” 

Coach Fulks backed up this idea, stating, “Players do a great job of keeping their priorities in line, and we’ve got a really great culture to really keep everybody on the same page with that we’re a very united group, we really care about each other and nobody cares about who gets the credit as long as we are winning.”

The Wildcats are also showing their worth and their team chemistry through community service. “Basically the entire month of June we are doing camps, we’re running clinics in pre and post-season,” said Davidson. “Last night we were able to go to an elementary school practice and help out with the girls and participate in their practice. That’s one of my favorite things about being on the team is that community involvement.” As Turner phrased it, “The Davidson community, the students, the faculty, the administration, the families that live around here make more of a difference than I think they realize.”

In the coming weeks, the conference season will really heat up. The team will go back to Rhode Island for a rematch, then to the University of Massachusetts, with Dayton after that. 

After last year’s hot start to the season, winning the first four conference games in a row, the team lost their fifth. But this year the team supassed that four in a row mark and made it five, which really shows how exciting the next few weeks should be for the squad.

Unfortunately, the team suffered a tough blow in the A-10 race on Sunday when they fell to Richmond on the road. However, the team still finds themselves in the thick of the conference race just one and a half games behind confernce leading Dayton.