Women’s basketball team assists Walla Walla community girls

Matt Tesmond

This past Sunday, the Whitman women’s basketball team put on its first skills camp of the year at Sherwood Center. The camp provides an important outreach opportunity for the team, as they pass on their knowledge and skills to the basketball youth of Walla Walla.

A basketball clinic last Sunday brought Whitman students and Walla Walla girls together.  Photos by Tanner Bowersox.

In the first of a series of four Sunday skills camps put on by Whitman women’s basketball in the month of October, the team hosted around thirty girls, taking tips and having fun as they bettered their games.

Although fun is ever-present, the true purpose of the camp is player development.

“The Sunday clinics are meant to be about individual development. We focus on individual skills and try to work at each player’s skill level, so everything is very individualized,” said head coach Michelle Ferenz.

The team sought to keep the drills fresh and fun through a quick-moving program.

A clinic participant practices shooting
Collaboration across age differences was a clinic highlight.

“We received girls from every age and skill level and were able to challenge them with drills that tested their basketball skills and mental toughness. The camp was set up in a five-minute station rotation where the kids would learn/do something new every five minutes,” said  junior Meghan White.

As is the case with any outreach program, there was more than just basketball skills to be gained.

“The clinics have been a very positive experience for the participants and for our players, who really enjoy working with these young players,” said Ferenz.

The focus was on individual learning and improvement.

The clinics also serve as a way for the team to extend the Whitman athletics brand beyond the edges of campus and into the greater Walla Walla community. The team always emphasizes generating an enthusiastic and fun atmosphere, which is crucial to keeping the girls coming back and interested in basketball.

“We do the clinics to reach out to the [Walla Walla] community and be a resource for girls who want to improve as basketball players,” said Ferenz.

The camp also provides a unique tangible benefit for the women’s program: loud, excited fans.

The event provided a passionate and positive environment for learning.

“These campers also are the cutest supporters and they come to our games with signs, cheers and smiles that make me so happy to play this awesome sport,” White says. This attitude is what makes the camp great and beneficial not just for the participants, but for the players and coaches who run them.

The next camp will be put on by the women in Sherwood this Sunday, Oct. 14 from 1-2:30 p.m., and the team is expecting an even better turnout. Like this past weekend, the event looks to be another slam dunk.