Meghan Nowak Blocks Out the Noise

The Eastern University wom– en’s basketball team definitely stands as one of the most in- triguing of Eastern’s teams. It is a team that does not possess a single senior, com- prised almost exclusively of underclassmen, and yet still stands in a position to make a run in the conference playoffs this season. At the center of this squad, both on the court and off, is 6-foot sophomore Meghan Nowak. As a fresh- man last year, Meghan dominated, leading the conference in scoring, en route to rookie and player of the year honors. Her performance drew the attention of other coaches in the conference, who have ad- mittedly planned their games around her. I was recently able to sit down with Meghan and talk about what it’s been like being the center of attention.

In describing this season, Meghan used the words “up and down.” She admitted that there were moments where the team has struggled, but they have also had stretches of consistency. “I think we’re starting to figure out what we need to do to win games,” Nowak said. “It has definitely been a learning year for us.” As of this interview, the team stands in fourth place in the MAC conference, a position which would qualify them for the con- ference playoffs. “We’re still hoping to make playoffs,” said Meghan. “We still have a few games to win to solidify that.”
In terms of her personal performance,
Meghan expressed some disappointment. She said, “Personally, I don’t feel like I’m doing my best.” It is true that her scoring is down some after her league leading 2011-2012 season, but that may be attributed to opposing teams and coaches pay- ing more attention to her. When asked how she has dealt with this increased at- tention, Meghan responded, “I don’t re- ally think about it before the game. It’s something that seems to come up as the game goes along. My teammates have been good at getting open and communicating with me. That communication has helped us to do well at beating double teams.”

Looking to the future of the program,
even if they don’t finish this season with a playoff run, there is definitely potential for several deep playoff runs in the next several seasons for women’s basketball. The coaches have built a team centered around young, up-and-coming players who will be able to build a solid pro-
gram. “Hopefully, in the next few years everyone the coaches bring in can help build a program and solidify us as a top one or two team,” said Nowak. As for her- self, Meghan hopes to continue to learn and grow her role on the team. “Last year I was a freshman led by seniors,” she said, “but now I have to step up and lead the team on and off the court. I’m even more motivated now. It (the awards) has given me a standard to hold to and I don’t want to disappoint.” If opposing teams are smart, a more motivated Meghan should scare them.

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