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WBK | Gaels Begin Full Practice For 2017-18

Oct. 9, 2017

MORAGA, Calif. -- Official full practice got underway last week for the Saint Mary's women's basketball team, as the Gaels hit the court with plenty of returners and budding newcomers that are eyeing another successful season this winter.

The first full week of practice was put in the books as October came around. Saint Mary's boasts 14 players who engaged with the full coaching staff up and down the court all week.

There will be plenty of experience on the court for SMC in the opening weeks of practice, with four of five starters returning from last year and nine letterwinners overall. The Gaels return six players who saw time in 26 or more games last season. But there will also be plenty of "in"-experience, as four freshmen look to make an immediate impact.

Emily Codding of Santa Rosa and Madeline Holland of Burlingame were both high-profile signees last November. Jordyn Boesel and Brianna Simonich have been added this fall, and both bring plenty of successful high school experience to get them ready for the next level.

"The first few days of practice have been going pretty good, a new environment, a new team, just trying to get used to everyone, but I think they've been going pretty well," said Codding. "I feel like my intensity level has gone up and my anxiety has gone up, too, because it's game time now."

"So far, so good. Everybody's healthy, everybody is enthusiastic and eager to learn," said Saint Mary's head coach Paul Thomas. "It's new every single year because you have new people that have come in and you have some people that have graduated and gone on to bigger and better things, so the chemistry is different, the whole environment is changed."

Saint Mary's said goodbye to five seniors last season, but a strong core of upperclassmen still remains and has its eye on bigger and better things, too.

"Being a leader is definitely challenging for some of us, me included," said junior forward Sydney Raggio. "I think it's an exciting thing. I like taking on that role and I'm excited to do it. I like helping out the underclassmen and seeing them grow and seeing myself grow, and I think we're going to be good this year."

"Our goal is always to reach the NCAA Tournament and we did not reach that goal," said Thomas, "so I think the preparations they did over the summer months leads up to practice and now October gets here and you're a little more focused on the details. They have to hand that off to the people that are a little bit younger than them and they have to grow each day."



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