In the Locker Room with Allison Anderson and Ellen Neumann

This week, the Review sat down with senior co-captains of the women’s basketball team, Law and Society major Allison Anderson and Psychology and Biology major Ellen Neumann. As the sole seniors on the team, Anderson and Neumann had plenty to say about team traditions, their leadership roles and how they pump up their team.

Madeleine O'Meara, Sports Editor

Why did you decide to play basketball at Oberlin?

EN: I came to Oberlin mostly because of basketball. I hadn’t even heard of the school until the coach called me. I just wanted the opportunity to go to a good school and play basketball wherever I went.

AA: It’s basically the same for me too, actually. I wanted to go to a good school, and if I could play basketball it was a bonus.

What is your favorite thing about playing basketball at Oberlin?

EN: I guess mostly, since I’ve been here, the team has been very close. You make really, really good friends that are different from your high school friends because you’re so close. You make a lot of long-lasting friendships.

AA: I would say that’s true. Also, since we’re here for Winter Term, we’re with each other a lot.

What do you do over Winter Term? Do you get sick of each other?

AA: We have two-a-days every day, and we also have individuals and film, so we’re with each other almost all day.

EN: We go to morning practice, then we have lunch together, then we go to second practice, then we go to dinner together.

AA: And sometimes we have a team activity together afterwards.

What is the hardest part of being on the basketball team?

AA: It takes up a lot of time. We are always having something to do, even in the off-season. Since Oberlin’s a hard academic school, it’s hard to balance doing all your schoolwork and going to practice and games.

EN: I feel like the basketball part of it’s been weird too, because Oberlin’s never been a good basketball program. Since we’ve been here, the program’s been building, but you run into those problems like, “Oh you play basketball, that’s funny.”

Do you feel the team has changed since your first year?

EN: I think we’ve had ups and downs. Sometimes we’ve been really, really close and other times — again, we spend so much time together that sometimes it’s a little much. We’re all real athletes [now], which I don’t think we’ve had in the past, so we’re all very committed to getting better, and that brings us together.

AA: Now, the team we have is all recruited by [Head] Coach [Kerry] Jenkins. Before, we had some people from the old coach and some that were from [Coach Jenkins]. So it was a different mindset for other people on the team. It was kind of a struggle between that, but now we’re all from the same coach.

One of the hardest things about team sports is making sure everyone’s always on the same page. Do you feel like that’s been a challenge for you as captains?

EN: I think it’s been difficult because our coach has been trying out a lot of different things. We’ve run a different offense every year, so when we get to learn the offense, it’s hard for us to teach the freshmen.

AA: We’re learning, too.

You both have been injured at different points over the past couple years — how did having an injury affect being a part of the team?

AA: Last year was the most difficult because Ellen and I were the only two captains, but we were hurt at the same time, so neither of us were able to play. It was a really weird dichotomy: to be captains but not be able to play. It was all vocal leadership, basically.

EN: Definitely a different role than either of us have ever done. We’re both used to being on the court. We had to learn how to talk to people better.

What are your team traditions?

AA: We recently started having a “pump-up” — someone who’s responsible for pumping us up before games. Every game we’ll have one person who thinks of something fun to do. For example, [sophomore] Christina [Marquette] did it last game. She wrote a song that included all of us in it and sang it to us. That was cool.

EN: We do the cha-cha slide before games. Or we listen to inspiring pump-up speeches from other coaches.

What are you looking forward to this season?

AA: We have a chance to beat everyone in our conference this year, which hasn’t been true in any other years that we’ve played. So beating a lot of teams, like our last game against Allegheny [College] — we had never beat them the whole time we’ve been here — and we won. So now it’s looking forward to beating other teams — almost every team in the conference — we haven’t beat since we’ve been here.

EN: I would say the exact same thing. There are a lot of teams like Kenyon [College] and [Ohio Wesleyan University] that we’ve been trying to get since freshman year, and we’ve never beaten them. This year we actually have the opportunity.