EDMONTON – X's and O's are certainly a big part of what coaches do.
But for MacEwan women's basketball head coach Katherine Adams, the 2021-22 season has been just as much about management – having enough healthy players to compete each weekend.
"It certainly has been challenging," said Adams, whose team had to postpone their last game, Jan. 15 vs. Alberta when they were left with just seven players due to injuries. "The entire season has presented these moments where you're not sure if you should laugh or cry or how exactly to respond. But they've responded really well.
"This is the reality of our situation and we know it's not unique to us. Many teams across the conference and the country are dealing with similar issues. I've been incredibly impressed with our team's resilience and ability to navigate this adversity and make the best of what we have to work with right now."
When the Griffins travel to Calgary for a pair of road games vs. the Dinos (Friday, 6 p.m. and Saturday, 5 p.m., both Canada West TV presented by Co-op), they will have at least the required eight healthy players for the matches to proceed, even if they're still operating at less than a full 13-woman roster.
"We're still little short-staffed, but we have some people back in the mix," said Adams. "As has been the trend this year, you lose some for a few days and then get some more back. It's certainly presented some challenges with training and preparation, but we're heading into the weekend right where we thought we'd be in terms of our personnel and healthy bodies available to compete."
The last time the Griffins (1-6) faced the Dinos (5-3) in the first semester, they earned a weekend split, beating Calgary 71-68 on the first night at a time they were the No. 1-ranked team in U SPORTS.
Mady Chamberlin hit a buzzer-beating three to cap off a great effort.
"All week we've been saying if we play the way we know we can, we can take this team and compete with any team in the league, honestly," said Chamberlin after the Nov. 12 win. "We came in with the right mindset and we competed."
So, there are the first two ingredients in the Griffins' preparation for this weekend, which will include focusing on being the best versions of themselves.
"Truthfully, just given the circumstance, our focus has shifted back to us and just making sure we're at our best and putting together a game plan and strategy that's going to play to our strengths," said Adams.
The two-game set is the beginning of a busy schedule over the next little while for the Griffins, who will play a make-up game vs. Alberta on Feb. 2 (7 p.m.) and then host Lethbridge on Feb. 4-5 (6 p.m. and 5 p.m., respectively, all David Atkinson Gym, Canada West TV presented by Co-op).
"The management piece is a part of coaching, but so much of it is just more management than the X's and O's to ensure we have healthy bodies to compete, not only this weekend, but heading into that Wednesday game and then a really short turnaround to hosting two games against Lethbridge next weekend," said Adams. "There's a lot we're navigating and managing, but I think we're doing our best."