Both the men's and women's basketball teams were defeated by less than three points. Find…
Webster University women’s basketball player steps into leadership role
JORDAN PALMER/The Journal
Cassie Endicott lines up a free throw. Endicott returns as the only senior on the team.
Senior women’s basketball player Cassie Endicott achieved more statistically in her first three years at Webster University than many have in their entire college careers. Endicott ranks first all-time for the women’s team in blocked shots with 168 and she is also first in blocked shots per game with a 2.6 average. This year she returns to the team as the only senior.
Last season, Endicott received a St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) all-conference honorable mention and earned a place on the SLIAC all-defense team. In just three years she has left her imprint on the team with these record-setting statistics.
Endicott looks the true definition of a post player. Standing at 6’3”, she has an ability to be a great rim protector.
Last year, she continued to prove her value to the team as the third option behind standout players Kaliann Rikard and Courtney Pursley, who were both seniors. Endicott averaged 10.7 points per game along with six rebounds. Women’s Head Basketball Coach Jordan Olufson said he is always looking for a player others can galvanize around and count on to lead them in the right direction.
“(Endicott) has been a vital part of our program,”Olufson said. “Being the lone senior, she does have expectations to be a leader. We always tell the players, ‘you are only as good as your seniors,’ and Cassie is going to lead this team on and off the court.”
Endicott realizes she has to step into a leadership role if the team wants to be successful.
“We had some good leaders last year, so I’m just trying to keep going with what they left and lead this team in the right direction,” Endicott said.
Endicott said Pursley and Rikard were vocal in practice and in games to motivate the players and build something special.
“Kaliann (Rikard) and Courtney (Pursley) did a great job leading and guiding this team,” she said. “They both brought a lot of energy and that’s what I’m trying to do: bring a lot of energy. As a leader, I think it’s important to be outspoken when I need to be.”
Last season Rikard broke the all-time single-season assists record with 122, and Pursley led the team in points per game with 14.7 and in rebounds per game with 9.1.
Rikard said she developed a strong bond with Endicott. Rikard attributed much of her success on the court to Endicott.
“Cassie (Endicott) and I became very close on and off the court,” Rikard said. “On the court, she was a huge reason why I broke the single season assists record last year; we just had really good communication in games.”
Endicott also stressed developing team chemistry is vital to her role as a leader.
Endicott said when players start to become fond of each other and develop friendships, the team seems to become more cohesive.
“I think it’s very important to have chemistry with your team because building relationships with one another helps us out a lot,” she said. “With the new players coming in, we just try to embrace them as much as we can. If you get along off the court, it makes it easier to get along on the court.”
The team hopes this chemistry can translate into wins on the court. With the season underway, Endicott’s leadership role is becoming clearer because of the way she has to carry the team both in practice and in games now that the team’s two star players from last season are gone.
On Dec. 3, against Westminster College, she scored a season-high 22 points along with five rebounds and two blocks. The team is currently 5-3.
Although this is her senior season, Endicott said she has had a leadership role in previous years.
“In different ways, I’ve already had to step into that leadership role,” Endicott said. “We don’t have that many post players on our team, and I’ve always been a post player so in that aspect, I had to be a leader.”