Dec. 19, 2007
As hard as it may be to believe, this is a season of many firsts for senior Meghan Wood.
In her fifth year at Loyola after being granted an extra year of eligibility for a back injury suffered in her third season on campus, Wood is finding herself a leader on the floor and in a prominent offensive role for coach Joe Logan's 6-3 Greyhound squad.
Last year, Wood was an integral part of the Hounds team that finished with an impressive 18-12 record and advanced in the MAAC Tournament, averaging 8.8 points in 32 minutes per game.
This season, she is Loyola's second-leading scorer and has dished out a team-high 28 assists and tops the squad with 6.7 rebounds per game.
"Last year we had [guard Jill] Glessner, and you knew she was going to go out and put up 15 or 20 points per game," Wood said. "This year, it seems like we're getting that game from a different person every game."
Whether she feels the pressure to come on as an offensive presence, the 5-11 forward has certainly answered the call as a tone-setter. With a powerful game and healthy competitive spirit, Wood is not one to shy away from diving for a loose ball.
"That's the way I am," she said. "I'm not going to go out and score 20 points per game. Making those plays, it shows my teammates we're at the level where these are the things we need to do in order to win."
"As a fifth-year senior, I'm definitely looked upon as the wise one," she said. "I'm thankful for the opportunity and I want to take advantage of it."
Wood stepped up in a big way during the Greyhounds first two MAAC games of the year, wins over Niagara and Canisius. She tied for game-high honors with 15 against the Purple Eagles; Wood then scored 10 to go with nine rebounds and four assists versus the Canisius.
"'Woody' was truly a senior captain tonight," Logan said after the Niagara game. "She kept us together, especially in the first half. She is really one of the only ones out there with a lot of experience ( in games like this one), and she stepped up and called on that experience."
One of the main beneficiaries of Wood's expertise is freshman point guard Candice Walker, whose 9.4 points per game leads the Hounds.
Wood speaks highly of Walker, but points out that since the landscape surrounding the women's basketball team has changed so much since she arrived as a freshman, that Walker and the rest of her teammates could stand to gain a lot from her experience.
"It's been a totally different picture over the last five years," Wood said. "My first two years, we didn't have that cohesion on the team. When Coach Logan came in, it was whole different story. I'm appreciative to be on both sides of it. With the fifth year, it's been a great growing experience, and I try to tell my teammates that they don't know how lucky they are to have the experience they have."
Wood better get used to doling out lessons, because in her extra year at the College she has started work towards her Masters degree in education with a specialization in administration and supervision, which she will finish after a year-long internship in the spring of 2008. Wood hopes to return to her high school, Carmel in New York, to work towards completing second degree.
It will be nice to be back in familiar territory, and through the season of firsts.