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WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Becky Burke Makes Coaching Debut At Charleston

November 7, 2018
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WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Becky Burke Makes Coaching Debut At Charleston

VESTAL, N.Y. — Bethann Shapiro Ord first saw it years ago when she was recruiting Becky Burke to the University of Louisville. She continued to see it when the former Abington Heights standout played for the Lady Cardinals. Some day, Ord thought, Burke would make an excellent coach. So there they were Tuesday, on opposite sidelines for an exhibition game — Burke making her debut as coach of Division II University of Charleston, Ord in her first game with Division I Binghamton University. Binghamton won, 69-62, as Western Wayne graduate and senior Rebecca Carmody had a team-high 16 points along with five rebounds, four assists and two steals in 22 minutes. Sophomore and Riverside graduate Lizzy Spindler added five points and two steals in 25 minutes for the Lady Bearcats. “I’m really proud of the coach that she’s become,” said Ord, who left Louisville after Burke’s junior season in 2011 for Weber State, where she remained for seven seasons. “I knew her team would battle. They fed off her fire and her passion. When I coached her, she had that passion.” Indeed, it didn’t matter to Burke it was just an exhibition game. She acted as if it was an NCAA tournament game. She clapped enthusiastically when the Golden Eagles scored on offense as they tried to rally from a seven-point deficit in the fourth quarter. She implored them to dig in on defense. At times, Ord and Burke glanced at each other and laughed because both teams were running similar plays with similar names. Although the outcome wasn’t a victory, Burke was pleased with her team’s performance. “We came out, kept things pretty basic and generic and really not show everything that we do,” Burke said. “For not showing very much, I’m so proud of my team. They played hard and that’s what I wanted to see. “A team plays hard is a dangerous team. I think this team is pretty hungry. It showed tonight, for sure.” There are still mistakes that need to be corrected and the players are still trying to get to know Burke and vice versa. However, she expects her team to play with the same intensity she did at Abington Heights and Louisville. “Every coach wants some of their personality to rub off,” Burke said. “I want them to have that edge that I had when I played. I want them to know it’s OK to be confident and feel like a winner. They are going to learn there’s a way to conduct yourself like a champion on and off the court.” Senior Gracie Roberts transferred to Charleston this year from Detroit Mercy. She said Burke was the reason. “I believe in everything that she believes in,” said Roberts, who is from New Zealand. “She’s been there. She’s played at a top level and won championships. She’s someone I can look up to. She says jump, I’m saying how high. “She’s building a culture here, that’s the main thing she’s focused on. She’s making sure we believe in what she’s doing and our team is buying in.” Burke came to Charleston after spending the past two seasons as head coach of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, building that program from scratch. She also spent time at Cal State-Fullertona and Saint Joseph’s (Ind.) College. Charleston has seven seniors and six juniors on its roster. The Golden Eagles were 13-17 overall last season, including 8-14 in the Mountain East Conference. They begin their quest for their first winning season since 2014-15 on Saturday against Mercyhurst University in the MEC/PSAC Challenge. Ord believes Burke can make that happen. “That team is going to win a lot of basketball games this year,” Ord said. “She’s going to have a great year there.” Contact the writer: swalsh@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9100 ext. 5109; @swalshTT on Twitter

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