We caught up with Women’s Club Basketball captain Jenny Bealmear about the successful season the girls had in 2011-2012. The club finished with an overall record of 42-2 and repeated as NCCS NIRSA National Champions! (Look at those medals!)
When was Women’s Club Basketball established at SIUE?
I believe it was established about 6 years ago, in 2006, so 2 years before I joined the club.
When did you start playing basketball?
Playing basketball has always been part of my memories for as far back as I can remember. I know I started playing on an organized team in 2nd grade at the local Boys and Girls Club. We were the “yellow” team, and we were terrible. My dad was a high school basketball coach when I was growing up, so I was always in the gym with him practicing my fundamental skills, like dribbling and lay-ups, while my dad was holding team practices. I remember running sprints and suicides and trying to keep up with all the high school guys.
Why did you join the club organization at SIUE?
Going into college I knew I wanted to keep playing basketball, even if it wasn’t on the collegiate team. I originally thought about walking on to the Division 1 team, but I wanted to commit my time to studying, meeting new people, and finding a job. So, I heard about Club Sports, and thought it sounded like a great opportunity.
What is your favorite thing about playing Club Sports at SIUE?
Club Basketball is a very competitive sport, and yet it is fun at the same time. I love that aspect of it. It also has provided me with great opportunities to become involved on campus, and to meet some great people, which I have created some lifelong friendships with.
How often do you practice? What is a typical practice like?
This year we practiced three times a week, starting in October and ending mid-April. Normal practices involve quite a bit of running, free throw shooting, defensive drills, running through our plays, scrimmaging, shooting, and then other random drills as well.
How often do you have games?
This semester we had 44 games! That is a lot for even a Division 1 team, let alone a club team. Since we started the season in October and ended mid-April, we were able to participate in quite a few club tournaments, junior college games, and even host our own tournament and a couple of exhibition games as well.
What is it like to travel and compete against different schools?
We love traveling! It is always a fun time to travel with the team and to explore new college campuses located all over the United States. It is always exciting to visit new schools and to play teams at all different levels of competition.
What was it like winning a National Championship?
Well, the first time we won, it was very overwhelming. During the previous seasons, the team was not very good and we were a sub-500 team. So, knowing that we had an actual chance to do well and win was very thrilling. This year, we had certain expectations and we knew that other teams would be “gunning” for us. After capturing that first title, teams always want to try and beat you. Despite having “targets on our backs this year,” we were able to overcome that setback and have another successful year. Winning a second National Championship was very emotional for a lot of the returning players and exciting for me since it was my last game of my career.
What is a tradition your team has?
Each season we tie-dye shirts before the National Tournament. This year we even painted the rock on the quad of campus before leaving for Nationals, just as a fun team-bonding outing. We don’t have a lot of team traditions, we are very laid back, and yet we always manage to have a good time. It is funny because all the other teams get so “hyped up” before the games, with their headphones in and their pre-game chants, etc. and then you look at our team and we are just very relaxed, having fun, and ready to go in our own, unique way. This is something that we always notice when playing other teams, that we think is pretty funny.
What is your favorite memory participating in Club Sports?
Well, it is definitely winning not just one, but two National Championship titles! Going to Texas last year, and then Florida and North Carolinathis year, were very memorable trips for me.
What is your team most looking forward to?
This summer we are competing in a summer league with other local junior colleges, which will be a fun way to stay in “basketball shape.” It is always exciting to have the opportunity to compete against other teams in the off season. It will also give the graduating seniors an opportunity to continue playing with the team. I know the team is excited to see what is going to happen next year!
What if someone is interested in playing Women’s Club Basketball? How can they find more information?
Definitely email the new president, Kelly Korza at firstname.lastname@example.org.