LOUDONVILLE — The Siena College women’s basketball team is looking for someone to provide a needed jolt to send it to the MAAC title game this season.
A bolt of lightning may have arrived this year in freshman Hanna Strawn.
Strawn is one of six high-energy freshman that are ready to take the floor in the 2018-19 season for the Saints, who were picked Tuesday to finish third in the MAAC preseason coaches poll.
“I always have energy. Sometimes maybe a little too much,” Strawn said at last week’s media day event for the Saints. “I always say it’s easier to get dialed down then to get dialed up. So it’s one of my best aspects.”
Strawn’s spirit brought her success over her five-year varsity career at Seton Catholic in Binghamton. She scored over 1,000 points in her high school career and won the BCANY Class A Player of the Year award in her senior season.
“I expect to bring my competitiveness and toughness here. Pushing everyone really hard in practice. I like to call myself a leader,” Strawn said. “I try and have a strong leadership role right off the bat and help my teammates out. I’m really excited.”
Her tenacity has earned the respect — and the attention — of head coach Ali Jaques, who has confidence in her entire roster this season.
“I feel like every player with a jersey on, that’s healthy, can contribute and help us this year,” Jaques said. “We’re deep. We do have some injuries we have to overcome. But one through 10, who’s healthy right now, any of them can contribute and help us.”
The combination of Jaques and Strawn seems to be a perfect fit so far. A fiery duo, Strawn feeds off her coach’s competitiveness. It has made Strawn’s transition to Siena seamless so far. Originally a commit at Monmouth University, Strawn is finding a home with the Saints.
“I love my team. Honestly, I think it’s really cool how we all come from different backgrounds, but we really fit together so well,” Strawn said. “I love Coach. Her competitiveness and my competitiveness fits really well and I love everything about it.”
Strawn said junior forward Maddie Sims, a team captain for the Saints this season, has been a driving force in helping the freshmen get used to college, on and off the court.
“She really helps us not only on the court, but off the court with school and everything,” Strawn said. “Even though she’s a captain and she’s a leader, I also see her as a friend.”
However, as with all first-year players, Strawn has faced some challenge over her first few months of college hoops.
“Freshmen, at times, feel like their heads are spinning because everything is so much faster than what they are used to,” Jaques said.
“One of the things that really stuck out to me was the pace of everything is a little different from high school,” Strawn said. “It’s a little bit faster, but I think I’ve acclimated to it well and I’m working on it, and I’m really excited to get out there and see what I can do.”
She will have to face a very tough MAAC in her freshman season, but Strawn and the Saints have a plan to beat some of the top teams in the conference and get back to the championship game for the first time since 2003.
“We need to focus on us. We want to win every day. So if we win every day and put in all the work, I think we could have a great season,” Strawn said.
That ideology fits in well with one of Jaques’ preseason mantras: “You can’t get to the top of the mountain unless you decide to get there.”