Vienneau a key part of Lady Rams’ surprising success

Rookie point guard fitting right in during her first season at Suffolk

Article by: Matt West

Freshman point guard Jacqueline Vienneau is leading the Lady Rams in minutes played (30.8) and is third on the team in points per game (9.1).

With five freshmen currently on the women’s basketball team, there were certainly lessons to be learned and experience to be gained as this past season progressed. Despite the reputation Suffolk has earned for its women’s basketball program and the work head coach Ed Leyden has put in during his 16 years with the team, it would have been unrealistic to set the bar too high and expect another 20-win season from such a young Lady Rams team.

However, the team has succeeded on numerous levels this year, and so too has freshman point guard Jacqueline Vienneau.

Hailing from Salem, N.H., Vienneau came to Suffolk expecting to play in a very competitive conference. She knew she would have her work cut out for her, both fitting in with the team and the school in general.

“All the of the schools I was choosing from had a lot to do with the reputation of the women’s basketball program, [and] as a plus Suffolk is very well known for its business school, which was suitable choice since I am a entrepreneurship major,” said Vienneau. “The past success of the women’s basketball program and Coach Leyden made Suffolk much more appealing as well.”

“Going into the season I set goals for myself,” she added. “I wanted to start and wanted to be a leader on the court.  When the game was on the line I wanted my teammates to be able to rely on me to control the game the way Suffolk likes to play.”

Coming into the season, the team was projected by the conference’s coaches to finish last in the GNAC, as the Lady Rams received no respect from the conference’s coaches. According to Vienneau, who went to Central Catholic High School in Lawrence, Mass., when she walked into the locker room on the first day of practice, this slight was plastered on the wall for everyone to see.

“This fired me up and made me want to prove to the other teams in the league that we weren’t a last place team,” she said candidly. “At this point in the season, no matter what happens from here on out, I believe that the success that we have had shows just what I wanted to accomplish from the first day of practice.  The other teams and coaches in the league can now give us the respect and credit that we deserve, much more than they had during the preseason.”

Having recently been named GNAC Rookie of the Week, Vienneau has been in charge of leading the team’s offense as the point guard. She is also leading the team in minutes played (30.8) and is third on the team in points per game (9.1). The awards have not gone unnoticed, and she has clearly appreciated every minute of this season.

“I was really excited to get Rookie of the Week because it made me feel that the hard work I had put in during the practices and tough games really paid off,” she explained. “Basketball is something that I love and it has shaped me into the person that I am and I wouldn’t be me without it. Playing well is something that I have always expected of myself.  Working hard when no one is watching is what produces good stats and wins.”

With only senior Laura Thompson leaving after the season, the Lady Rams have a lot to look forward to.  With an impressive 14-11 record heading into conference tournament play this week, the season can already be looked at as a success, regardless of what happens in the playoffs.

“We are a young team and we are only losing one senior starter —although she will be missed on the court — we will all be one year stronger, better and more experienced,” said Vienneau. “I am hoping for solid forward recruits and the injured players to be healthy and ready to go for the future seasons. We should continue to be a successful team and get better as each year goes on.”

The program can expect a lot from not only this young, talented team, but from their talented point guard as well, and she is only just getting started.

The Lady Rams opened the playoffs last night at Albertus Magnus in a game that ended too late for this edition.

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