For the second straight year, the UNB Varsity Reds women’s basketball team is losing one of their top players before the season even begins.
Veteran point guard Awo Farah has left for what the team calls “personal reasons.” It’s a big blow to a V-Reds team that is in the process of rebuilding.
“It’s pretty huge,” said head coach Jeff Speedy about the loss of Farah. “She was a starter and a leader and one of our best players. Anybody who loses somebody that fits those three categories would have to be considered a significant loss for sure.”
Speedy added that the team’s current players will need to step up to fill the void.
“We have nobody on our roster that can replace her. Hopefully some people that are on our roster that have shown some good things so far can do a little bit better or play with a bit more consistency. We’ll do our best to make up for it that way.”
Farah played in all three of UNB’s pre-season games last weekend in the Helen Campbell Tournament. She had six points in 23 minutes of action on Friday against Concordia, seven points in 29 minutes against Ryerson on Saturday, and 10 points in 29 minutes on Sunday against Cape Breton.
Although the news may have come as a surprise to fans and supporters of the team, Speedy said it’s been something the team has been following for the past eight months.
“We always knew it was a possibility but we kept working hard and had optimism that it would all work out,” the coach said.
Last year, Claire Colborne, the 2010-11 Atlantic University Sport and Canadian Interuniversity Sport rookie of the year, quit the team just before the start of the season. She is currently with the University of Calgary Dinos.
The Reds finished seventh in the AUS last season with a 5-15 record, missing the playoffs. The women’s basketball team has only made the playoffs once in the past three seasons and that was when they qualified in 2013 because they were hosts.
The women’s team takes part in the Don Grant Classic in Moncton from Oct. 24-26. They open the regular season up against Acadia on Nov. 7 at the Richard J. Currie Center.