Featured Freshman: Sarah Bingea
“I think one of her biggest strengths would just be her confidence and poise that she was able to show as a freshman,” junior Hannah Mesick said. “. It can be a big transition your freshman year, but I think she handled it really well, and it was really fun to see her develop over the year.”
Bingea’s transition was complicated by the fact that she was not only changing from high school to college basketball, but also from the post position to a guard. She was more than willing to make the switch, though, coach Tonja Englund said.
“(Bingea) is a person who always wants to get better in everything that she does,” she said. “She’s always looking to grow, and you love to coach a person like that.”
After having experienced a season of UW-Eau Claire basketball, Bingea said her favorite thing about the college experience, in comparison with high school, is the team atmosphere.
“In high school, there are always some girls who are only sort of into it,” she said, adding that in college, there’s a lot more dedication. Because of this, she said, the team is very close.
By the time Bingea has completed her four years of college basketball, she would like to become someone who can set a good example for her teammates.
“I want to get better at being a leader on the floor,” she said, “and by my senior year really be a leader that my teammates can look up to.”
Mesick and Englund said they already see this happening.
“She’s one of the hardest workers I’ve ever seen, on and off the floor,” Mesick said, “. and if she keeps it up, I think she definitely has the potential to be one of the best players in the program.”
“I watched Sarah this year really come into her own probably the last ten games of the season,” Englund said. “. (She) became, I believe, one of the best freshmen in the league in February, but she also was becoming that leader.”
Bingea said there are still some things she hopes to improve on over the next few years, such as outside shooting and ball control. She’d also like the team to make it far into the NCAA tournament, a goal that Englund shares.
“We had our ups and downs this year because we were young,” Englund said. “. (But) at the end of the year, the group started into its own, and unfortunately, we just ran out of time.”
Englund said she would like to get back to the NCAA tournament, and she sees Bingea as a big part of that.
“I expect in the time Sarah is here – not to put a lot of pressure on her – but I think that she’ll be one of the best players to come into the program,” she said. “. She has the ability to take over the game.”
Aside from basketball, Bingea is dedicated in the other aspects of her life, as well, Englund said. She and Mesick both believe
that her dedication makes her a valuable addition to the team.
“It’s important to have everyone in the program be a good person as well as a good player,” Mesick said, “and Bingea definitely fits that and is a really great teammate and just overall person.”
Englund described Bingea as a “true Blugold” and added, “What she brings to the team is that she represents the jersey in the way that we want to represent the university.”