By: Riley Doherty
The Capital Athletic Conference named UMW women’s basketball player Maddie Shifflet Player of the Week last week.
“I feel really grateful for the award,” said Shifflett, “It gives me a little boost of confidence in the way that I’m playing this season.”
Shifflett first started playing basketball when she was only six years old. Now a junior majoring in psychology, she said, “I love this game and everything about it.” She joined the women’s basketball team at UMW as a freshman back in 2017.
The UMW Eagle’s webpage cites Shifflett’s scoring average of 18 points per game as her reason for receiving the reward. According to Head Coach Deena Applebury, winning this award is not a common occurrence for the team.
Applebury believes Shifflett received the award due to her being a jack-of-all-trades, explaining that, “She’s leading our team in four different statistical categories. She’s number three in the nation in field goal percentage.”
Applebury continued, “She’s very versatile, again she’s playing in the paint, she can step outside, shoot threes. Her 3-point field goal percentage is first in the conference … She can take people off the dribble, if you foul her she’s going to score from the foul line. She can do a whole host of things … she’s very hard to play against.”
Shifflett said, “I try to always fill my role that’s needed on a specific night to win, so that varies greatly.”
According to Applebury, Shifflett’s performance is even more impressive considering she missed most of last year’s season due to a torn ACL. “For her to come back and play the way she’s been playing is pretty incredible.”
The team as a whole has a scoring average of 62 points per game and an overall record of 16 wins and 7 losses this season. Applebury explained that the season so far has not been easy.
“[We have] the sixth toughest strength of schedule in the country right now out of about four hundred and fifty schools,” said Applebury. “Several of the teams we have lost to are receiving votes and/or have been ranked or were ranked.”
She said that the team has been doing well despite the difficult schedule, “We are actually doing quite well and we are currently ranked number seven in the mid-atlantic region as well.”
Shifflett attributes the team’s success to their ability to work as a team and their quick learning. “We have a lot of young players this season who have stepped up as well. I think we have a good comradery on and off the court that’s also helped our performance this season,” said Shifflett. “There have also been a couple tough, close losses that we have used to learn and to improve our play for the remainder of our season.”
Shifflett will continue playing basketball during her senior year but does not see herself playing professionally. “I think after my four years of playing in college, I’ll be ready to move into the next phase of my life and start my teaching career. I might even get into coaching one day in the future, who knows? I feel like basketball will always be a part of my life though.”