The MCLA women’s basketball season is officially underway, which means practices, games, long bus rides, classes, homework, and any chance for a social life is all being balanced by junior Karina Mattera.
Mattera came to MCLA in the fall of 2015 and found her niche among the other athletes on the basketball team as guard.
“It’s a lot different being on the team together this year than freshman year,” said junior and teammate L’Rae Brundige. “Now we all understand and are used to the way each other plays, we have that bond and team chemistry that helps us enjoy playing together.”
Brunbige and Mattera began their MCLA basketball careers at the same time and have been with each other ever since on and off the court.
Mattera has been playing basketball for 16 years both at MCLA and in her hometown of Johnston, Rhode Island.
Mattera has always been a force on the court, while attending Johnston Senior High School she achieved scoring her 1,000 point in her high school career when she was only a junior.
“That’s probably my favorite [basketball] memory,” Mattera said.
Mattera is an English/Communications major with a concentration in Broadcast Media and minor in Sociology. While she has her love for basketball, she has also found a place to excel in joining the Beacon Web News.
She is a field reporter, going out on campus every week to report on events, editing her pieces and makes the news package for them every week.
“In the control room I do things on the day of the production like control the camera shots and when to switch cameras, add lower third titles, and play the roll in packages,” explained Mattera.
Having the opportunity to be so involved in the Beacon Web News allows Mattera to have a hands on approach for her Broadcast Media concentration and experience for her future career.
“I’m not sure exactly what career [that will be] but something in the film field would be ideal,” Mattera said.
On the court, she is known for being scrappy and quick on defense, and on offense is one of the leading scorers for the team. With a college career high of 25 points in one game, she is only 5 points shy of all time high of 30 points which she scored in high school.
“Karina brings a lot to the team,” said Brundige. “She brings her A-game and she loves finding the open player and getting those assists. She opens up plays for us and improvises when plays break down.”
This year, the women’s team is relatively young with only one senior this year, having lost five seniors after last season.
“We’re adjusting playing together still since this is our first year all being out on the court in games together, but I’m pretty confident we can match up well against anyone,” Mattera said.
During her freshman and sophomore year Matter found a mentor in Courtney McLaughlin, a senior last season.
“[McLaughlin] helped me improve my game in ways that only needed a little fix, whether it was setting a proper screen or making my offensive game a bit smoother,” Mattera said. “Off the court as well, she’d always be the person I’d go to talk about a situation I was having about basketball or life in general.”
McLaughlin returns this year as an assistant coach to the women’s basketball team, extending her reach from teammate to an experienced asset for both Mattera and the whole team.
According to Mattera, her favorite MCLA memory is playing games she and her team played down in Florida during last year’s winter break.
Looking to the next few games she is excited and feels prepared to face anyone.
“I’m most looking forward to playing Framingham State in MASCAC games this year. We lost to them in the semi-finals in playoffs last year,” Mattera said.
MCLA women’s basketball team plays their next game against Southern Vermont College at 5:00 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1.