Photo by Steve Woltman.
The Lewis University women’s basketball team prepares for the upcoming season.
The Flyers are heading into this upcoming season with some new faces on the team, highlighted by brand new personnel in the coaching department.
Former guard Jamie Johnson was recently named a top 30 honoree for the 2017 NCAA Woman of the Year award. Her absence is going to be a tough role for the women to fill.
However, Lewis’ new head coach, Samantha Quigley Smith, is confident the women will adjust and be prepared for competition. Quigley Smith has five seasons of coaching experience under her belt at the University of St. Francis (USF). Last year she lead the Fighting Saints to a 34-2 record and was selected as the Illinois Basketball Coach Association Coach of the Year.
“It has been a comfortable, smooth and easy transition to Lewis, largely because both schools are Catholic Institutions with similar values,” said Quigley Smith. “My uncle, Brian Michalek, coached women’s basketball here in the early 90s, so I’m very familiar with the campus.”
Quigley Smith’s assistant coach at the USF, Dan McCarthy, has also joined the Flyers coaching staff this season. McCarthy brings 40 years of coaching experience to Lewis. He coached previously at Joliet Catholic, Marquette, West Chicago and USF.
McCarthy envisions the Flyers playing an up-tempo style of basketball that emphasizes pressure, both defensively and offensively.
Lewis added senior guard Chrissi Ekhomu from USF and sophomore forward Morgan Glatczak from Ball State University to the roster this season. In addition, Reilly Olmstead and Allison Utterback are both freshman guards and new members of the team.
Junior forward Jessica Kelliher, who averaged 19.7 points and 7.6 rebounds last season, will again be a key player for the Flyers. The coaching staff is expecting both of the team’s seniors, Ekhomu and Dekayla Crayton, as well as the entire junior class, to be leaders on the team.
Quigley Smith is excited to compete in the Great Lakes Valley Conference for the first time. “It is such a competitive conference across the board, which will help prepare us for the postseason if we find ourselves in that position,” said Quigley Smith.
After finishing last season with a 23-9 overall record, Lewis will look to build off of that success this year.
The Flyers will begin their season at home in a matchup against Hillsdale College Friday, Nov. 10.