Sweden’s Werth has a bright future with UAlbany women’s basketball
It has become routine for head coach Colleen Mullen’s Albany women’s basketball program to include several Swedish players.
Freja Werth, the country’s most recent player, could prove to be the best of the group.
“She’s so dangerous because she can score in different ways and she can change the game defensively,” Mullen said of Werth, a 19-year-old who once played in the top women’s league in Sweden. and for the country’s national teams.
Albany’s roster for the 2021-22 season that begins Nov. 10 against Hofstra includes returning starters Ellen Hahne and Helene Haegerstrand of Sweden, and Werth looks likely to start his college career coming off the bench for a Greats schedule. Danish who brings back four starters from last season. Werth, however, was a “shining point” during the team’s intra-squad scrum earlier this month, and showed flashes of the all-round attacking play she possesses during practices. For a Great Danes program that struggled to score last season, Werth’s ability to score in a variety of ways looks likely to earn him minutes early in his college career.
“She can score from anywhere on the pitch and she’s a great defender,” said Haegerstrand, who is the Danes’ longest-serving Swedish player as she begins her third season with the program. “So wherever she gets the ball she just needs to understand that the shot is hers, the drive is hers – and, then, if the extra pass is there, it’s there. threat, which it is.
Teammates Mullen and Werth said the first-year perimeter needs to be more assertive on the pitch. Sometimes Werth seeks too much the cliché of others; Hahne and Haegerstrand said they both need to learn how to research their own shot more once they move from Europe to the United States as well. Hahne, however, said Albany’s offense has changed to “playing a bit more like European style” this preseason, with more emphasis on ground distribution and ball movement.
The Great Danes will benefit, however, once Werth seeks his own shot more often.
“We want her to bring the ball to the basket,” Hahne said.
Werth said she continues to adapt on and off the pitch. Due to visa issues, Werth missed most of the team’s summer training and only arrived at UAlbany in mid-August. A past left knee injury limited Werth somewhat during the preseason, but she said the issue was “nothing affecting” her long-term outlook with the Great Danes.
“It’s been really good,” Werth said of her first few months at UAlbany, where she’s undecided on a major. “I really like it here. Everyone is very welcoming.
Werth said the presence of Haegerstrand and Hahne made the decision to go to UAlbany easier, and that both helped her a lot. Hahne and Werth actually attended the same high school in Sweden, but are a few years apart.
“It’s so nice to have them here,” Werth said.
While Haegerstrand, Hahne and Mullen have indicated that Werth needs to seek her own offense more, Werth said the biggest adjustment she is making this preseason was getting used to the ‘harder’ style of play of basketball. college ball.
“It’s more physical,” Werth said. “But, on the other hand, it’s a lot faster in Europe.”
UAlbany just made an appearance in the America East Conference semifinals, and the Great Danes have more depth than they’ve had in Mullen’s first three seasons at the helm. UAlbany can afford to bring Werth in slowly, but Mullen sees a bright future for the player.
“Every day,” said Mullen, “she gets better.”
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