New, but familiar, faces of the women’s basketball team

Ashley Jordan and Laura Mastro missed being on a team.

For Jordan, a volleyball player, and Mastro, a field hockey player, suiting up with the women’s basketball team allowed them one last chance to be a part of a team before they graduate in the spring.

Injuries to the women’s basketball team limited the roster and intensified the need for more bodies to help out in practices and late in games. Enter Jordan and Mastro.

In January, when facing a dwindling roster, the coaching staff knew that introducing the new players was the best decision for the team.

“The decision was something that needed to happen, just for the simple fact that you have seven players that are out in any capacity of their injuries, so obviously the question was asked,” head coach Semeka Randall said.

Girls Bball

Mastro(left) and Jordan were looking for one last chance to be a member of a team. (Photo by Mark Clavin)

Jordan joined the team last semester as a practice player after seeing fliers around town advertising the need. Mastro’s field hockey coach approached her about joining the team to help out.

Both players have had evolving roles on the team and have filled in wherever necessary. With the season in full swing and players battling back from various injuries, including Shavon Robinson and Mariah Byard, Jordan and Mastro were able to log minutes in games.

Prior to Wednesday’s contest at Kent, Jordan had accumulated nine minutes in games, scoring two points on free throws against Central Michigan on January 23. Mastro has played 27 minutes total for the Bobcats, sinking two three-pointers in that time.

“They’re not playing significant minutes, but the minutes that they are playing, I know that they are giving a hundred percent and that’s all you can ask of a player,” Randall said.

For both of them, the first moment on the court was associated with a feeling of nervousness, but was ultimately exciting.

“I was nervous, naturally, but I was just happy to be out there and I knew that at the time, I wasn’t a hundred percent confident in my skills,” Mastro said. “I knew my fitness would be there so I tried to use that to my best advantage.”

Jordan and Mastro were not new to the sport. Both played in high school and even considered pursuing basketball in college but ultimately chose other sports.

Jordan considered her prospects to play volleyball to be better than those in basketball, so she made her decision based on that.

“I actually wanted to play basketball in college, rather than volleyball, but for me it was harder to get looks for basketball rather than volleyball, so it just ended up that when I weighed my choices at the end of my senior year, I ended up choosing volleyball,” she said.

Jordan played in six matches for the volleyball team as a freshman and six more as a sophomore. Her sophomore season, she earned two kills.

While Mastro considered the option of playing basketball at the college-level, she never thought it would happen at Ohio University, so the opportunity to play the sport again was one that intrigued her.

“I’ve always regretted not pursuing basketball in college,” she said. “I just knew that this opportunity wouldn’t come up a lot to get the chance to even play at this level with these girls, so I just figured I’d do it.”

Laura Mastro on the field hockey field vs. Ball State in 2011. (Photo via Bobcat Athletics)

Laura Mastro on the field hockey field vs. Ball State in 2011. (Photo via Bobcat Athletics)

Mastro found success with the field hockey team. Her senior season, she took home All-MAC second-team honors. As a junior, she had 15 assists, which was good for second in the league. In her career, Mastro racked up 25 assists, which puts her third in program history.

For both players, the transition has not come without challenges. Jordan is battling with her own set of injuries, including one to her ankle and an arthritic knee.

“That’s probably been the biggest challenge—just trying to keep my body together,” she said.

Mastro considers getting her basketball skills back to be her biggest challenge and it’s one she continues to work on every day and with the help of her new teammates, it’s easier.

“The biggest challenge to me was to get my basketball skills back and I’m still working on it, but as far as changing the sports, the girls have been really easy fit in with and mesh with them and they’re a great time,” she said.

Randall is pleased with the way both players have been able to adapt and contribute to the team.

“I don’t treat them like they’re special or anything like that. I coach them and they’ve been very receptive to it, so I have the utmost respect for people that’s willing to step outside the line and just give everything they’ve got, so I’m very happy for them to be a part of our program.”

Both Jordan and Mastro have considered their time on the women’s basketball team to be fun.

“It’s been an experience. It’s been fun though,” Jordan said. “I missed being on a team, so that was good. It’s been a good time.”

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