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Howard Bison Lacrosse Team Aims to Make Comeback After Winless Season

Returning Howard University women’s lacrosse players express their optimism for their upcoming season.

Kimora Williams at the Howard vs. Delaware State Game. (Photo Courtesy of Kimora Williams) 

After a tough 2023 season with the record of 0-15, Howard University’s women’s lacrosse team is excited to fight for redemption in 2024. 

The Bison’s last winning season, according to hubison.com, was in 2013, when they went 10-3. Since then, the program has had a combined 3-112, including six winless seasons.

Last year, the team failed to bring home any wins, but things are looking up in the upcoming season. The team has welcomed transfer and freshman talent while revising their strategies during practice. 

Despite the unsatisfactory outcome from 2023, the players are ready to wipe the slate clean and focus on improving for the future. 

Junior Kimora Williams is headed into her third season at Howard University and is a returning starter who plays attack. She now believes she has a good feel for the team’s dynamics and is confident about the goals they plan to work towards this season. 

“As a team, our goal is to focus on winning conference games, since those are most important for playoffs and championships. We are also hoping to work on our team culture on and off the field,” Williams said.

To be successful in the spring, the team decided to set the tone right away after returning from winter break, ensuring a positive start to the semester. 

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Williams shared that the team is practicing six days a week and lifting two to three times a week. The ladies’ new training schedule adds only one extra day compared to the off-season. In addition, the team played multiple scrimmages during the fall against teams like Catholic University, The University of the District of Columbia and Virginia State University to prepare for the season. 

Williams plans on making an impact both on and off the field to facilitate a successful season. Being an upperclassman this season has made Williams naturally assume leadership responsibility on the field to ensure better team dynamics. 

“As a returning starter, I have goals of scoring more, being a better asset on the team and handing out assists to other players so we can all celebrate throughout the game,” she shared.

Williams is excited to create an environment where the underclassmen can lean on her outside of practice. 

“My freshman year, the team was different, so I didn’t always have someone to go to… so I want to make sure I make those connections with our underclassmen, whether it’s about lacrosse, guys, school, or anything else,” she said. 

Kayla Rose, another veteran who plays attack, also has high hopes for the team and feels this season is very personal, considering she is coming off an injury in her senior season. 

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As the team’s first game approaches, Rose plans on only looking forward, ensuring last year’s season doesn’t hold her or her teammates back. 

“One of my friends reminded me that ‘all great athletes have a short memory,’ meaning we forget and move on to the next game with a clean slate. So, anything from last year doesn’t matter. I’m not even the same person I was yesterday, today,” she said.

Howard women’s lacrosse team in 2023. (Photo Courtesy of Kimora Williams) 

Adopting this mindset, the team goes into practice focused on making their goals a reality by executing different plays daily. Rose focuses on not allowing comparison to be the thief of joy. 

“Remembering that a bad game is not a reflection of my character or athletic ability helps me so I’m not stuck in my head,” she shared.

Rose is excited to show up for her teammates in every way possible to help execute the ladies’ goal of a winning season. 

Jaala James, a senior returning defender, is going to experience her final season a little differently than planned, as she will enter the season on injured reserve. Despite not being able to contribute on the field this year, James has identified a crucial area of support she’ll be contributing to.

“When it comes to the needs of girls individually, coaches can only help so much because, ultimately, they have to focus on coaching. Being on injury reserve is a little helpful because I can offer help during times when people need water, something for their blood sugar, a trainer, or even to go to the bathroom. This season I’m just going to make sure to be there for my teammates,” she said. 

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James is excited about what her team has been able to work on during the off-season and throughout January. 

“Coach Karen has changed the dynamics,” she said. “This upcoming season, there are a lot of rule changes that will change the direction of how women’s lacrosse is played and watched. A lot of calling is now very subjective and up to the refs, which will be tough to navigate, but our coaches are working to make sure we are playing very controlled so we aren’t suffering from back-to-back calls.”

In addition to being ready for new rules, James spoke on how the team is ready to improve its attack and defense. 

“We have been working with attack to ensure things are connecting between them and that they are aggressive, so they can go hard on attacking the cage. On the other hand, last year defensively we had the ball a lot, so we are focusing on honing in on each defender’s skills so they can play confidently on their own and move the ball up the field,” she said. 

The ladies all have their eyes on the prize, a winning season, while improving team dynamics week by week. Their first game will be on Feb. 9 at The George Washington University.

Copy edited by Jalyn Lovelady

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