Feb. 11, 2013
Chestnut Hill, MA -
Kristen Doherty and her teammates on the Boston College women's basketball team have made great strides to rebuild the program this season.
Doherty, who is a co-captain, along with senior Kerri Shields and junior Katie Zenevitch have all embraced working together for the good of the team. Being in a leadership role means a lot to Doherty as her teammates are her best friends and the opportunity to compete with them on a daily basis has become even more important to her this season. In order to turn things around, Doherty has made it her job to create a fun, happy environment for the team.
"I come to practice every day and give 100 percent," Doherty said. "I really think it's contagious when you come with good energy and are excited to be there. Our team is really close so if somebody has good energy, we feed off that and have great practices, which leads to great games."
Taking on a more vocal role on the team is something that Doherty has emphasized for herself this season as she feels that just leading by example is not enough anymore. She works on communicating with her teammates and sharing her knowledge of the game to help the team win. It is her intelligence that sets her apart from other players
"I am not the strongest or the most athletic on the court but I do a good job of reading the defenders and my teammates. It's easier to do when you have been playing with the same people for a while because you know their tendencies. On this team we do a good job of knowing each other so we can make plays," Doherty said.
Having played basketball since she was three-years-old, Doherty has the experience to back up what she calls her high basketball IQ. Even when she was young, Doherty says, she always thought she had the answers to make her team better.
"I was always trying to be a smart aleck with coaches because I always thought I had the solution to everything," Doherty said.
While Doherty has great faith in her teammates, she had to form new bonds of trust when the Eagles brought in a new coaching staff for the 2012-13 season, led by head coach Erik Johnson. Doherty says the change was smooth, but not without its difficulties.
"It's hard coming in with a new coach," Doherty said. "It's not what we were used. It took some time. We didn't know what we were getting into but we welcomed them with open arms and the coaching staff has worked to keep putting us in the right situations. I wouldn't ask for another staff."
Doherty said that even though the new coaches had to get to know the players, they worked together on and off the court to develop chemistry with one another.
"Coach Johnson made it very easy for us to buy into his system and his program," Doherty said. "The assistant coaches also put a lot of time and effort into the program and it is very obvious to see their hard work, which makes you as a player want to work hard for them and be successful for them."
The Eagles have been more successful this season under Johnson while competing in one of the top conferences in the nation. The stiff competition of the Atlantic Coast Conference was something that Doherty dreamed about from a young age. It was one of the factors that brought her to the Heights, as she loved the idea of playing her best in every game in order to succeed. The thought every game being a close, hard-fought one with no time off from the competition drives Doherty. In fact, the challenge of the fight is what Doherty loves most about the sport.
BC also attracted Doherty because it is the perfect balance between athletics and academics. The friendly environment was another positive that helped bring her to the Heights.
"When I came on my recruiting visit there was great chemistry," Doherty remembers. "All the girls really welcomed me and I had never really had that on a visit before."
Though she loves it, the constant pressure to perform does present a challenge as Doherty must budget her time between her school work and all the physical, emotional and mental stress playing a collegiate sport. There are no days off, according to Doherty and she is always preparing for the next game or recovering from the day before.
No matter what though, Doherty and her teammates put in the work necessary to improve and because of this, Doherty sees the program growing and improving in the future.
"We make such great improvements every day," Doherty said. "As long as we continue to practice and perfect the things that Coach wants us to perfect, we're going to be great. I can't see any reason why not. This program can get to the level of the top teams. We have what it takes but we have to build because you can't just end up there."
Written by senior Eddie Lockhart