Balanced backcourt duo drives Sea Gulls’ women’s basketball team

2/24/15

MITCHELL NORTHAM
Sports Editor
@primetimeMitch

According to Chinese theory, Yin and Yang describes how opposite forces actually work together to be complimentary. Yin is a passive and calm force while Yang is the energetic and aggressive force.

The term can be applied for two senior guards on Salisbury University’s women’s basketball team too. While Sarah Seipp is the emotional voice of the team and a player who is willing to take more chances, her backcourt mate Anna Hackett is a bit more quiet and steadies her team with her calm demeanor.

“They bring out differences in each other, so as coach – knowing what we need from each player – it has helped us because they just bring it out of each other,” Sea Gulls’ head coach Kelly Lewandowski said.

Sarah Seipp and Anna Hackett have shared a backcourt dating back to AAU days. (Photo: Mitchell Northam)

Sarah Seipp and Anna Hackett have shared a backcourt dating back to AAU days. (Photo: Mitchell Northam)

Both players have different attitudes and styles of play on the court, but as different as they are, both complement each other and push the team as a whole to a different level of success. They are effective for the team as one because they are different, and that’s why the nickname given to them by their head coach – Yin and Yang – is so appropriate.

“Sarah plays on the edge. She has a lot of enthusiasm, she’s really aggressive when she plays and takes a few more chances while Anna is a little more reserved. She’s a little bit more calm and not as emotional as Sarah and sets us up and gets us into what we’re doing,” Lewandowski said.

Hackett and Seipp’s different playing styles have been effective this season as the backcourt duo has helped lead the Sea Gulls to a No. 15 ranking in all of Division III women’s basketball and a 23-2 overall record. The Sea Gulls are first in the Capital Athletic Conference and have secured the No. 1 seed for the conference tournament beginning this week.

The success as a team is the best the duo has been a part of since they have been Sea Gulls, but Hackett and Seipp’s playing days together dates back as far as their sophomore years of high school when the two linked up on a local AAU team.

“With that team everything just flowed well,” Hackett said. “We had a lot of guards – we were really fast and ran all the time which is how we like to play. We just worked really well together.”

On that team is where they first started building chemistry that has made them as effective as they are today as a backcourt tandem for the Sea Gulls that combines for 38.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, 5.9 assists and four steals per-game on average.

The two played AAU basketball together throughout high school, but only played in a high school league game just once against each other during their sophomore careers when Hackett’s Clarksburg high team lost a battle against Seipp’s Gaithersburg squad. The schools are just 20 minutes apart, but because Clarksburg was so much smaller and newer a rivalry didn’t exist.

As a senior, Seipp led her team to an undefeated season and a 4A Maryland State Championship.

“(Seipp’s) team was a lot better, they went to states consistently and mine struggled a bit more,” Hackett said.

Though they only played against each other once in high school, the two met on the court again as freshman and sophomores in college when Seipp was playing at Virginia Wesleyan and when Hackett was a Sea Gull. But while she wore a blue and white jersey for the Marlins, in the back of Seipp’s mind was the possibility of transferring and wearing maroon and gold for the Sea Gulls.

She liked Salisbury not just because it presented an opportunity to share a backcourt with Hackett again, but both of her brothers graduated from Salisbury and she liked that it was bigger than her current school.

“I didn’t have much of a pitch because she already wanted to come here her freshman year when I wasn’t the coach here yet,” Lewandowski said. “So when we heard from her the second time I think she was on board. It was more of the school than anything else.”

Despite being swayed into staying at Virginia Wesleyan for her freshman and sophomore campaigns, Seipp finally transferred to Salisbury prior to her junior year. Hackett played a role in influencing her decision and the two became roommates shortly after Seipp arrived.

In their first season back together there was some adjustment, but after a few games in, they started clicking again once they redefined their roles for the team. Both can handle the ball, run an offense, shoot, pass, rebound and play defense at a high level, but Hackett is more suited for the point guard as the calm leader and an outside shooter, while Seipp’s energetic style makes her more aggressive inside as a slasher, defender and rebounder.

“Sarah can run the point too, so it’s a little bit like AAU in that sense where either one of us can bring the ball up the court, but typically I’m running the point,” Hackett said. “She has the energy and I make sure the energy is used effectively.”

Once again, their playing styles live up to the nickname.

“We have our weaknesses but I feel like we complement each other well,” Seipp said. “I’m hype and energetic and all over the place and she kind of calms it down.”

Both want to be involved with basketball in one way or another after they graduate, but it’s fitting that Hackett wants to be behind the scenes in a management and marketing role while Seipp has aspirations of yelling from a bench as a coach.

But before graduation arrives, the duo still has a season to finish with one goal still in mind: winning the CAC title and throwing their hat into the ring for the NCAA tournament.

A recent loss at Marymount, just their second of the season, helped put that goal and the season into perspective.

“It’s obviously tough to lose especially when we’re on a winning streak but we still have playoffs to look forward to and we still have all the same goals of trying to win the conference and make it to NCAA play,” Hackett said. “So we’re just going to take that loss and look at things we can work on so it doesn’t happen again. The mindset is a little different. We’ve really been pushing for the CAC Championship because with six seniors, if we don’t get it this year then we’re not going to get it.”

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