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“Cleary” Skies Ahead for Women’s Basketball

Joe Arleth

If you’re looking for the biggest difference between this year’s women’s basketball team and squads from the past, look no further than the half-court offense.  Replacing the freedom and improvisational style allowed in years past, this season the Huskies will utilize a modified Princeton offense.

The Princeton offense is one of the most entertaining styles of basketball to watch. The system relies on patience, teamwork and constant movement.  For the Huskies, these three characteristics define not only their offensive mindset but the philosophy of the entire program.

New head coach Bill Cleary understands the value of patience.  He fully grasps the challenges that lay before himself and his team.  Cleary is inheriting a program that has failed to earn double digit wins in over four seasons.   Still, this is not uncharted territory for the sixth year head coach.

Cleary comes to Bloomsburg with a reputation as a leader who can turn a program around.  He has a history in such tasks.   In five years at Wilmington University, Cleary took the Wildcats from a two-win program to a 20-game winner and division champion.

“What I learned from my experience at Wilmington is you have to have patience,” said Cleary. “The players have to buy into what you are trying to do.”

Cleary thinks his players have already started buying into the new system.  It isn’t an easy task for a veteran team to adjust to a new coach and a new style of play.  This Bloomsburg team returns six upper classman and includes only one freshman.

Headlining that group will be senior center and two time all-PSAC player Colleen Kegerreis.  Last season, Kegerreis led the Huskies in scoring, rebounding, blocks and shooting percentage.  For the program to take a positive step this year though, Kegerreis will need some help from her teammates.

“We want to have five players getting involved with the offense at all times,” said Cleary, “When I was with Willmington we had five players averaging double digit points, and that is what we want to bring to Bloomsburg.”

Although Coach Cleary preaches the virtues of patience, he is also quick to point out reasons why he is excited about his current team.

“I really believe that [the team] is starting to understand our system,” said Cleary. “They are picking it up better than they think they are.”

It’s those little successes that Cleary believes will ultimately turn this program around.  The team won’t announce goals regarding how many wins they hope to achieve or playoff predictions.  Instead, they are focused on the smaller details:  learning the offense, accepting a system, understanding the value of playing as a cohesive unit.

“We can’t worry about February, we have to worry about today first.” said Cleary.

This appears to be a team that will constantly be evolving in front of our eyes.  The Huskies are not simply trying to turn around a losing program, they are trying to change the entire atmosphere and environment that surrounds the organization.

The little victories, small improvements and constant movement of this season will lay the groundwork for the future success that Cleary promises is coming.   He vows that things are changing and his track record suggests that we should take his word.  The talent and the work ethic is already in place.  The Huskies will rely on their newly developing attitude and philosophy to take the next step.

“If the students come out to watch us, they will see that we are really going all out for them,” said Cleary. “If we lose, it will never be for a lack of effort.”