Senior Class Finds Stability
Three years since they first stepped onto the Hilltop’s hardwood, three seniors stand at the forefront of one monumental turnaround.
Guards Tyshell King and Jade Martin and forward Faith Woodard head into their final season at Georgetown leading a team that looks to push the limits of what it can do, coming off the most successful season in recent program history.
King, Martin and Woodard bring their experiences of the ups and downs of program adjustments as well as talent cultivated during Head Coach Natasha Adair’s two-year tenure.
“The biggest thing for me is to see their confidence, to see them lead others and their maturity and their poise,” Adair said of the three seniors. “I demand a lot of our seniors, constantly talking to them about leadership, but I’m also talking about the real world. This is the time where you’re thinking about what’s next, and making sure that we put them in the right positions on the court, in the community, making sure they excel in the classroom for their future.”
During their time at Georgetown, the returning seniors have played for three different coaching staffs, navigated a season with no seniors on the team’s roster and led a turnaround from a 4-27 (2-16 Big East) record in 2014-15 to a 16-14 (9-9 Big East) campaign last season.
After salvaging the program from the state of flux it was in when she inherited it two years ago, Adair said that her returning players have had to trust and buy into the rebuilding process.
“It wasn’t a conversation that ‘This was going to be the year.’ As we continue the process, you can see them day by day understanding it, embracing it and now we talk to them about owning it,” Adair said of the team’s progression.
Woodard said that dealing with these changes over the past three years has brought her class together as they enter their final season.
“Jade and Tyshell are like my sisters,” Woodard said. “We came in together, and with coaching changes, some of the people that we came in with left, but just sticking with them throughout, I know that they’ll be some of my best friends moving forward and throughout life.”
King expressed similar feelings, emphasizing how the team’s many adjustments have been a formative part of her Georgetown career.
“It’s been up and down, which I feel like helped me out personally, helped me better myself and helped me fight against adversity,” King said. “I feel like I’m a lot smarter, wiser and more mature, and I’ve gained a lot from the experience of being around different people.”
Beyond their lasting off-court chemistry, the returning seniors have also made consistent contributions on the court over their three years. Last season, Martin and King contributed 64 and 42 season rebounds, respectively, while Woodard was third on the team in scoring with nine points per game. Woodard scored a season-high 21 points and tallied eight rebounds at Seton Hall last February in Georgetown’s 73-65 conference win late in the season.
Woodard is also approaching several personal milestones this season.
“I’m nearing 1,000 points, so I definitely want to do that as soon as I can and play to the best of my abilities, as well as 500 rebounds, I’m nearing that too,” Woodard said of her personal goals in her final year. “I’m just really excited about the season, and I think that our team is going to do really good, I’m really excited about it..”
Martin echoed Woodard’s high expectations, stressing that the team is focused on carrying last season’s momentum into a strong 2016-17 campaign.
“We’re just going to carry that attitude and intensity and standard that Coach set into this year and go and win 20-plus games and make it into the NCAA Tournament,” Martin said.
Though the seniors have high expectations for both their individual performances and team goals this season, King feels ready for whatever lies ahead.
“We’re just playing our game now,” King said. “With no hesitations.”
(Cover photo: Claire Soisson/The Hoya)