By Daisy Roberts
The Northeastern Women’s Basketball team lost three of their starting five from last season. Mide Oriyomi made a transfer to Purdue, and Stella Clark and Ayanna Dublin graduated. But the four new members of this year’s team are eager to prove that the departures of last season will not be missed much. Freshmen Camille Clement, Gemima Motema, Claudia Soriano, and Asha Parker look to help the Huskies to a bright future, and their enthusiasm for the game is quite obvious. Here’s what you can expect from this year’s incoming basketball class:
I was unable to speak with Clement, as she was working with the athletic trainer. However, based on high school stats and accolades alone, she will be a force to be reckoned within the CAA. In her career at Greely High School in Maine, she had a record of 73-5, scoring 1,426 career points. Clement is a sharpshooter, having made eight 3-point shots in a game on multiple occasions, as well as holding the Maine state record for career 3-pointers, with 202. In her senior season, she shot 42% from long range, so it’s safe to say that the Huskies have found a weapon from the outside in Clement. She also has basketball in her blood, as her aunt, Joanne McCallie, was the head coach of the Duke Women’s Basketball team for 13 seasons, from 2007–2020. Clement is a fantastic addition to the team this year, and I’m excited to see what she’ll bring to the court.
Motema has set the bar high for herself. When asked what her goal is for the season, she simply responded, “I want to win Rookie of the Year.” She’s the kind of player who knows who she is and what she’s good at, and has incredible drive, both on and off the court.
Motema moved to America from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to play basketball for Portland High School in Maine. In her career, she averaged 17.6 pts, 6.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 4.1 steals. She credited her skills on the court to be “driving to the basket and tight defense,” and her stats represent this. One unique aspect about Motema’s gameplay is a previous connection she had with fellow freshman, Camille Clement. The two played together on the club level in high school, and Motema acknowledged the advantage that gives the two of them. She noted, “I’m used to her, I know her, so it’ll be easy. I know how she plays, it’ll be easy to find her on the court.” Motema is the type of player with an immense amount of hustle, and her presence will be very welcome to the Huskies this season.
Claudia Soriano is a very interesting player. She’s a self-proclaimed “combo guard” from Spain, and she comes to Northeastern with a very different outlook on basketball than most college freshmen. Having played on the U18 Spanish national team, holding many international accolades, her experience is unlike any other.
“I’ve played against the best players in Europe in my generation, and now I’m going to play against the best people in America,” Soriano said. “I’ve been in that situation where the level is really high, so I think that will help me.”
Soriano made sure to note the difference between basketball in America and in Europe, specifically pointing out the physicality difference. She’s had to “learn to take contact” and “take a step forward in the physical aspect.” When on the court, Soriano is a relentless player, bringing a high level of intensity to her playstyle. She said that she tends to “pressure a lot, just annoy the other team,” and that even though she isn’t the tallest or strongest, she has speed.
Soriano is also quite obviously a team player, as she mentioned that her typical role on the court is changing this year. When asked about her goal for the season, she said, “I’ve never played at the point guard position, I’ve always been a combo guard, and this year, because the team needs it, I’ve had to take that role… I just want to be confident in that spot and feel like myself there… that’s my main goal.” It’s clear that Soriano is a very smart player. She knows her strengths and weaknesses, and makes sacrifices for the sake of the team, making her a great addition.
The second I spoke with Asha Parker, it became obvious how high her basketball IQ is. When I asked what she thought her greatest strength on the court is, she said, “My energy. I think that personally, for me, it’s not always about scoring, but being crazy on defense, talking and communicating to my teammates, just being that energy, so that creates a better team flow.” The words “crazy on defense” came up a lot, and being 6’2” with a large wingspan, her defense is definitely something to look out for. Parker’s dedication to the team is clear, as she spoke about getting in the training room and gym after hours, putting up shots, as well as taking time to “chillax, so mentally I can be in it for the games.”
Her team-oriented passion is something important to note, as one of her goals for the season is to dive for the ball the most on the team and just being a relentless defender. Parker’s energy, both on and off the court, will be a great asset to Northeastern, and I’m looking forward to seeing the star defender in action.
Overall, the four fresh faces to the Huskies are incredibly committed to the success of the team. Clement’s shooting, Motema’s drive, Soriano’s intensity, and Parker’s defense will be sure to shine this season. Their first official game as Huskies is on Wednesday, Nov. 10, against Holy Cross. Northeastern Women’s Basketball has a bright future in this year’s freshmen class, and their impact on the court should be a great one.