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Utah State women’s basketball team is thriving with a young team

By Jensie Bahr
Dec. 4, 2016

With a junior-less season underway for the Utah State University women’s basketball team, the Aggies have been relying on sophomores to lead the team. And so far, so good.

The Aggies have had a 6-2 start despite the lack of older players. This is the first time in at least a decade the team has been this young overall.

Head coach Jerry Finkbeiner said younger players have risen to the challenge — specifically players like sophomore guards Rachel Brewster and Katie Toole.

“They both have this natural ability to lead, but in different ways – Rachel by word and Katie by deed,” Finkbeiner said. “While they are both sophomores, they already know what it takes to be great leaders and I anticipate them being outstanding players in future seasons.”

There are only two seniors on the team this season, Angelica de Paulo and Antoina Robinson. De Paulo has yet to play in a game due to an injury. That’s left Robinson to share leadership roles with younger players like Brewster.

“You’ve gotta have leadership, otherwise it’s the blind leading the blind,” Finkbeiner said. “Rachel’s kind of treating the situation like she’s a senior – she does what’s best for the team, not what’s best for her.”

Brewster said she is working hard to be an example for the team's freshmen.

“I tell them it doesn’t matter what our age is – we have the potential to be a good team if we work together,” Brewster said. “I think our younger players are gonna have so much more experience when they get to be seniors, especially compared to other teams.”  

Finkbeiner said he’s not worried about a senior-less coming season.

“I really anticipate us playing like a senior team, even though we won’t have any,” Finkbeiner said. “Our sophomores will have a lot of minutes underneath their belt, so there’s gonna be a little bit of a ‘been there done that’ kind of attitude.”