ANTIGONISH — Aliyah Fraser says she’s glad to be playing her first season of university basketball for the St. Francis Xavier X-Women.
Fraser is among three Pictou County members of the X-Women’s roster. The others are fifth-year veteran Jamie McCarron and sophomore Lucia MacKay, who has been sidelined with a season-long injury. All three are from New Glasgow.
“It’s been pretty good so far,” Fraser said. “We have a really good coach who teaches us how to be better players on the court and better persons off the court.”
Fraser’s leap from high school to university basketball has presented its challenges. However, as a member of a young team full of promise, Fraser is optimistic about her basketball future at St. FX.
“I’ve had to work on my ball handling and dealing with pressure,” she said. “I’m really excited about what this team can do.”
February has already been quite a month for Fraser.
She scored 24 points and added seven rebounds in the X-Women’s 72-64 loss on February 1 to the host Cape Breton Capers. She sank seven of her 17 field goal attempts, including 5-for-10 from beyond the three-point line.
Fraser had six points and nine rebounds in the X-Women’s 58-46 victory on February 5 at home against Dalhousie. She added 14 points and six rebounds in their 81-61 loss to UNB on February 8 and added another 14 points in their 70-57 loss at home against Saint Mary’s last Wednesday.
The X-Women were to visit Saint Mary’s on Saturday and will end their season on Friday by hosting the Capers.
McCarron says she regrets having used up her five years of player eligibility but feels glad for this season’s games with a young team that she feels has enormous potential. She earned the coach’s award for the X-Women last year, while MacKay was named the team’s top rookie.
McCarron is completing the first of two years leading to her education degree but hopes to stay with the team in some capacity.
“It’s been a great last season,” she said. “I’m trying to enjoy every minute because I know this will be a great group of girls. I want to be part of the team somehow next season. This has been my best year because of the group of girls on the team. We’ve been trying to create a new culture. That’s been special.”
McCarron said she appreciates her family’s support during her time at St. FX.
“My family comes to see me every game, and I’m glad how they’ve supported me the whole way,” she said. “I’m really blessed.”
Aliyah Fraser, left foreground, tries to dive after the basketball as teammate Jamie McCarron, far right, views the action. (Goodwin photo)