Faith Blethen’s first college basketball season ended two weeks earlier than her first academic year as a collegian. The 2019 Boothbay Region High School grad played this basketball season for George Washington University in the women’s Atlantic 10 conference. On March 17, the NCAA cancelled all remaining collegiate athletics for 2019-20. A few days later, colleges and universities across the nation cancelled the academic semester. So Blethen and thousands of other college students all returned home to continue their education online.
The Washington, D.C. college finished 8-8 in A-10 play. The Colonials finished eighth in the conference and hosted No. 9 Richmond in the conference tournament. Richmond defeated GWU 57-49 and advanced to the conference quarterfinals. Blethen played 28 minutes, grabbed six rebounds and scored two points in the loss.
She is now completing her 16 credit hours of pre-business courses online. During her first college year, she made many friends and built strong relationships with her basketball teammates. “I’m glad to be home, but I wish I could’ve finished out the school year,” Blethen said. “I miss going to class and spending time with my friends.”
With the basketball season over, Blethen now has plenty of time for studying. The scholarship athlete had a demanding schedule while at school, with four-hour daily blocks devoted to practice. Blethen had to schedule classes around games and practice. She had classes scheduled Monday through Friday typically beginning around 9:30 a.m Her last class was at 6 p.m. She returned to her dorm around 8 p.m. and finished her studying. “It takes a lot of planning,” she said. “It’s difficult not only finding time to study, but making up my classes and completing projects around road games and practice.”
GWU finished 14-16. The Colonials had two key upset victories defeating Virginia Commonwealth and Memphis on the road. Blethen is part of a core group of underclassmen for the Colonials. GWU had only four seniors this season so Blethen is excited about building upon her first year playing Division I college basketball.
Blethen started 25 games and averaged 28 minutes per game for the Colonials. The team is dominated by a large number of freshmen and sophomores. Blethen is hoping to build on her initial season which saw her score six points per game, 3.7 rebounds and she recorded 32 steals. “There definitely was a learning curve. Luckily, I came into the season in pretty good shape. The biggest difference between high school and college basketball is your basketball IQ,” she said.
Blethen described the college game as dramatically faster and more physical, but a player is also more responsible for opposition scouting reports and being alert to their trends.
Blethen hopes to return to Washington, D.C. in July to resume team workouts. In the meantime, she will continue to study and work on her game in Boothbay.