BY SYDNEY MUSSER, ASST. SPORTS EDITOR
Women’s basketball guard and freshman Nikki Komara said she knew she was bound for success, but not this much, and certainly not this early in her college career.
Komara said:“I did not expect to play such a big role coming into the season. I knew that in the past few years, (Susquehanna) had some struggles, so I figured I would see playing time.”
She continued:“I have been enjoying my freshman season, everyone is great. We have a really great team dynamic considering how young our team is.”
Komara, a Shamokin native and biology major, holds a substantial record that speaks to her versatility on the floor.
Komara is second on the team in points per game at 12.1, trailing a player three years her elder in senior guard Mariah Monahan. Helping her ability to score has been her proficiency from beyond the arc, as Komara has sunk 48.9 percent of her 3-point attempts, hitting 22 3-pointers.
Monahan said: “(Komara’s scoring) helps us a lot. Her averaging 12 points a game is big for us because we need more scorers to be able to put in the hoop.”
The multi-faceted guard is more than simply a scorer, averaging 6.8 rebounds per game to lead the Crusaders as well as posting four double-doubles on the season.
But even before playing for the Crusaders, or playing basketball at all, she was a hardworking athlete at heart.
Komara said: “In high school, I did a little bit of everything when it came to sports. I played volleyball for two years, soccer for two years, softball for three years and basketball all four years. Basketball was always the sport that was the most fun for me and that’s why I stuck with it so long. I’ve played since I was in first grade, so for about 12 years.”
Komara’s experience clearly comes into play while on the court, as reflected in Wednesday’s game against Juniata. Komara boosted the team with 12 points and a game-high of eight assists. She aided the Crusaders to an easy double-digit lead around the 12:20 mark after landing two free throws.
But for Komara, the most successful games are not necessarily the games she treasures most. She said she prefers winning, but she would take fighting to earn that win any day over an easy victory.
She said:“One of my best games this season was at the Lycoming Tournament in the championship game. That was probably one of the first times I really stepped up when the team needed me. Mariah [Monahan] was in foul trouble in the first half and I started driving more and made some layups, including a ridiculous one that I still don’t know how it went in. That was a game that we had some other people step up for us and make big plays.”
Komara is one of nine freshmen players on this year’s team, but her age does not convey any sense of inexperience. She is a seasoned team player, and knows when to step in, analyze the situation, and take charge of a play.
Komara said: “Our weakness as a team has really been communication, but as the season has gone on, we have put in a lot of work and time to make that better. The best part of our team is how quickly we all gelled together.”
She continued: “Coming into the season with so many freshman on the roster, none of us really knew what to expect with how our team would come together. We built a pretty strong team chemistry from the beginning, when we started working in the offseason, and it’s really been a big part of the way we play.”