KINGSTON – North Smithfield’s Corinne Coia has been thrown right into the fire by University of Rhode Island basketball coach Cathy Inglese.
The 6-foot-4 freshman has started six games already this season and is averaging 8.7 points per game, third on the team. The Rams are 1-10 this year after Saturday’s 72-67 overtime loss to Quinnipiac University. Coia netted a career-best 19 points in the setback.
“Coach (Inglese) told the freshmen in our class that we might have to play right away because so many players graduated last year,” Coia said on Friday. “I’m a little surprised that I’m playing so much but I’m not really shocked.”
Coia’s best game may have come against Brown University on Dec. 3 when she came off the bench to score 12 points and grab eight rebounds (seven off the offensive boards) in a 66-54 loss to the Bears. The Lincoln School graduate also scored 12 points during a loss to Central Connecticut this past Wednesday night.
Coia had adapted well to the college game, although she knows she has miles to go before she becomes a consistent player.
“The tempo in college is so much faster,” she admitted. “Everything is amplified in college. I’m now playing against players my own size. I’ve had to learn how to help out on defense. I’m happy with my progress so far. I see a major difference between my first game and now. I’ve been able to watch a lot of film and see what my mistakes are and how to correct them.”
Coia hopes to keep improving from game to game.
“I have to be more consistent,” she said. “I have to make sure I know the plays on offense, and rotate properly on defense.”
URI coach Cathy Inglese is very positive about her freshman frontcourt player.
“Corinne was injured for a lot of pre-season and missed practices, but she is now really starting to turn the corner and understand the physical level of the Division 1 game while learning to use her body and size down low.
“Corinne can also score when facing the basket. She has a nice foul line jumper and this will help her become a well-rounded player from the inside as well as from the top of the key. She runs the floor well and her passing ability down low is excellent.
“In regards to her play so far, she is really getting used to this level and recently has begun making adjustments to help make her successful at this level. For example, she is using her size and strength on both ends of the floor and she is also a good communicator for us.
“For the future, I see her as a very good leader for our team and also a dominant force for us in scoring and post presence.