As the season shifts into winter sports, it was no surprise to the athletes of the Framingham State women’s basketball team hearing their season has been canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Three seniors, Camille Desroches, Abbey Battaini, and Kathy Jaracz, also known as “The Triplets,” were disheartened when their final season of basketball at FSU was taken away.
“It’s kind of slowly starting to hit us now,” Desroches said as she thought about what the team would be doing if they were still playing.
The women finished last year’s season strong, winning the 2019-20 MASCAC Tournament Championship against Worcester State, 66-51.
They were determined to make it to the NCAA Tournament again this year where they fell last season against UMass Amherst in the first round, ending with an overall record of 22-6.
Jaracz said, “When they officially announced it, I thought about how I’ve been playing for so long, it was sad to see that’s how it ended.”
She is from Chicopee and has been playing basketball since third grade.
“At school they were handing out flyers and I was like, ‘I want to play basketball,’ so I went home and said I wanted to do it, and started playing,” Jaracz said.
Battaini graduated from Haverhill High School and decided to continue her athletic career at Framingham State.
“I had two older brothers. I played everything they did,” Battaini said. “But in high school I didn’t branch out to other sports and focused on basketball.”
Battaini finished her 2019-20 season with 11 rebounds, three steals, and scored seven points total.
Desrochers came from Westford Academy and has been playing the sport since she was in the first grade.
“Both of my older siblings played, so I got started early,” Desrochers said. “I would always tag along to all my sisters’ practices and just be shooting on a different basket.”
Desrochers ended her final season with 24 assists, 12 steals, and an overall total of 79 points scored.
Although the cancellation of winter sports restricts the athletes from having regularly scheduled practices and team meetups, Battaini said the players’ bond is strong, if not stronger than before.
“No matter what, we still have that team chemistry on and off the court. We get along really well, and stay in touch,” she said.
Jaracz added, “My best friends are on the team. All of my greatest moments at Framingham State definitely involved my teammates.”
Desrochers said the team still manages to get together for informal small group workouts at the school gym about three or four times a week.
“Once we come back from winter break, our coaches are anticipating having more formal workouts closer to the spring, but no one really knows what the plan is yet,” she said.
Two sophomores, Flannery O’Connor and Gwendolyn Carpenter, also shared their experiences on the team and playing the sport.
“I was super homesick, and my team is what got me through that,” Carpenter said. “It definitely gave me a second family – they’re my home away from home.”
O’Connor said, “When you spend so much time with these people, it makes you feel like you’re always at home with them.”
Carpenter is from Ashley Falls and said she has been playing since about the first grade. She finished her freshman season at Framingham State with 60 assists, 21 steals, and scored 84 points.
O’Connor came to Framingham State from Amesbury High School and has also been playing the sport since the first grade. She finished her freshman season with 34 assists, 47 blocks, 20 steals, and a total of 386 points.
The seniors are still dealing with the upsetting news that their basketball careers have ended but are grateful for the time they’ve been able to play.
“If you have an opportunity to play a sport or do something in the arts, do it. Right away you will have a group of friends,” Desrochers said. “I don’t know what I would do without them.”
Jaracz said, “I’m very thankful and proud after these four years I still love the sport like I did when I was little. Staying on a team can be hard, but they made it feel effortless.”
Battaini said, “I’ve never been on a team like Framingham’s. No matter what the situation, I feel like we made it fun, we just feed off each other’s energy.”