LOUDONVILLE — Coming off a losing campaign, the Siena College women’s basketball program has also had to deal with a number of personnel losses from last season.
That means the Saints are rebuilding — and head coach Ali Jaques sees that as an opportunity.
“I think we just hit the reset button,” Jaques said earlier this week. “I think our staff did a tremendous job bringing in some great players, and I think the players we have are extremely committed. So I wouldn’t say there was anything down about anything. I would just say we’ve moved onto the future.”
In that future, the Saints hope freshman Julia Hauer plays a key role. A 5-foot-10 forward, Hauer averaged 16.9 points and 10.2 rebounds her senior year at Seton Catholic Central High School in Binghamton, a season which saw her named co-Class A state Player of the Year by the New York State Sportswriters Association. For her high school career, Hauer totaled 1,371 points and 1,243 rebounds.
“She’s extremely talented. She’s got a scorer’s mentality, and she’s just one of the most competitive kids I’ve had the chance to recruit so far,” Jaques said. “Julia hates to lose in anything she does. She plays with tremendous pace and passion and enthusiasm. I think she’s got a chance to be a pretty special player here.”
Hauer, though, will need to earn her playing time as a freshman.
“Julia’s going to have to earn her time on the court just like everybody else,” Jaques said. “I’d say after seven years of being a head coach that it’s hard to predict, sometimes, but I’d be surprised if Julia didn’t find her way into the lineup.”
In her short time with the program, Hauer has relied on her teammates to help her adjust from the high school game to the college one.
“Obviously, going from high school basketball to Division I college basketball — it’s a big transition,” Hauer said. “So they’ve just kind of been there for a lot of the times where you feel overwhelmed. They’re just there to help you.”
On the court, Hauer knows how she can contribute right away.
“Definitely rebounding — that’s kind of my thing,” Hauer said. “So it won’t be too much of a change. Rebounding and talking [on defense] a lot, because I’m very good at that.
Jaques said her coaching staff’s effort to recruit Hauer started several years ago.
“I started recruiting her as a sophomore,” Jaques said, “and stalked her for three years because I thought she was that good.”
Those efforts did not go unnoticed by the Saints’ prized recruit.
“I definitely loved the campus; it’s full of nature and everything,” Hauer said. “Then, the coaching staff is amazing. They’re all super-excited for me to come here. They made it known they wanted me. They were at so many of my games, and I just loved it.”
Tyrell Feaster is an intern at The Daily Gazette. Feaster, a junior at the University at Albany, is majoring in journalism.