Coach Barrett demands unity, and it’s working

Castleton University women’s basketball coach Tim Barrett can point to a lot of contributing factors for the team’s 11-6 record coming into the second half of the season. It marks their best start since the 2018-19 season, and he recently sat down to chat about the success.


Q. What were your expectations going into this season for your team?

A. Expectations from year to year don’t change much. Our overall goal is for us to get better every game, every practice, and hopefully by the end of the year be playing our best basketball. This season’s roster is built uniquely to where we have five seniors, five underclassmen, with four of those underclassmen being freshman. So it gives us experience but also helps mold the younger players because a lot of things will be new to them. To pinpoint one particular goal is to be in position to host a first round LEC conference game, placing as one of the top four seeds within the LEC. 


Q. What do you attribute most to your team’s recent success to?

A. A couple things; one is we’ve gotten better on the defensive side of the court with defending the dribble penetration and being more consistent on that end of the court. Offensively between Elise Magro, Kelly Vuz, and Liz Bailey, they’ve been consistent night in and night out with their scoring. Roles are becoming defined as we step into the second half of the season.(, t)The freshman now have some experience under their belt so the expectation is for them to be more productive on both ends of the court.    


Q. Can you tell me what stands out about this team compared to the teams you’ve previously coached? 

A. I think the make-up of our roster is unique with us being young but also having five seniors on the team. Our team chemistry is solid and with our roster being both young and old, because sometimes it can make things a bit tricky with chemistry but overall our chemistry has been solid. This team has been pulling in the same direction, which has led to our success, continuing to work hard is what’s helped us to get better game by game.   


Q. Do you plan on changing the philosophy of what’s expected as you cross the half-way point of the season? And why?

A. No, I don’t see us changing our philosophy. I’d just like us to improve in certain areas. One of the things we need to do a better job of is rebounding. Rebounding is something I think will help us beat the upper echelon(s) teams in the conference. Rebounding is something we’ll spend a fair amount of time on at this point in the season, but that’s one thing I can point to that’s a glowing weakness right now. I do believe our team’s commitment has been great, with them getting in the gym and getting more reps. And the part of staying committed can’t go away, we need to continue pushing forward in getting those extra reps.   


Q. Do you believe some sort of inspiration or motivation came from being ranked in the middle of the pack during the LEC’s preseason rankings? 

A. No, I’m not a big believer that preseason polls indicate how successful teams will be. A lot of times preseason polls only reflect how good teams were the year before. I’m not sure how much of a motivation it was, but we just try to treat each conference game with the same importance. We’d rather be at the top of the standings at the post-season standings as opposed to the preseason. 


Q. How would you describe your coaching style?

A. I’m demanding because I want our team to be disciplined and well-prepared. I judge my success on whether I believe individual players are reaching their individual potential and if not, I try to find a way to motivate them to do the things they have to do in order to fulfill their potential. Whether that’s to work harder or make fundamental changes, but that’s a way I judge our success based upon our ceiling collectively because I believe if people are maximizing their potential individually it gives us a better chance at being successful collectively.    


Q. With the recent success, do you see this season as the standard going forward for the program? 

A. I think in women’s college basketball the bar has been raised and our high-water mark is that our program has made it to the Sweet 16 in previous years. We consider ourselves a winning program and want to put ourselves in position to win a conference championship at the end of each season. 

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