She was ready to move on and was excited about new opportunities in her life.

But then basketball came calling — again.

“I wasn’t looking for a coaching job,” Prue said. “I was taking classes and applying to grad school.”

It was actually Bates College women’s basketball coach Jim Murphy that called Prue. He asked if she’d be interested in being as assistant coach with the Bobcats. So in addition to teaching, taking classes and preparing for grad school, Prue added coaching to her list of activities.

“It was a great opportunity for me,” Prue said. “So I took advantage of it.”

Prue was a standout at Bowdoin and played against Bates as a Polar Bear. That followed a stellar career at Edward Little. She started 27 games last year as Bowdoin guard and led the team in minutes, averaging 33.5 per game. She finished the year averaging 6.4 points, 5.3 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.6 steals.

It was a conversation with Bowdoin coach Adrienne Shibles, a Bates grad, which gave Murphy the idea of calling Prue. He was told that Prue was back in the Lewiston-Auburn area teaching and preparing for her Masters in Occupational Therapy. He was told she’d make a great assistant.

“She has such credibility because the returning players can tell the new players how good a player she was,” Murphy said. “She has all kinds of experience at the college level. “

Though Prue didn’t have the time to miss the sport, she was excited about being around the game again. She hears from former Bowdoin teammates who miss basketball while Prue has practice every day.

“I hadn’t spent enough time away from it to realize it,” Prue said. “Now that I’m coaching, I’m grateful for the opportunity. I was part of a pretty intense program for eight years. So when I was done, I was sad that it was over, but I was kind of wondering what else I could do. I really hadn’t spent enough time away from it to know what it’s like to be missing it, but I’m definitely grateful now that I’m here.”

It’s a different perspective for her as a coach. She was often focused on her game and her role with the team that she didn’t see the bigger picture as a player. Just watching and observing what is going on gives her a different view.

“As a player, I didn’t have the time or the ability to sit and watch,” Prue said. “It’s definitely interesting to see it from the coach’s perspective and not playing. You see so much more and see the whole picture.”

Prue brings an experience and knowledge  players can relate, too. She’s been there and done it at a high level.

“I was just there,” Prue said. “So if something comes up I can talk to them and tell them, ‘This is how I dealt with it or how we dealt with it.’”

Her composed demeanor allows her to work well with players, some of who played against her.

“She has extraordinary knowledge, not only of basketball but about what basketball is like in the NESCAC,” Murphy said. “She’s been a really tremendous addition. The players absolutely love her. I couldn’t be happier to have someone of her quality, both as a person and a coach.”

Though she’s close in age to most of the players, coming from another program allows her to maintain a level of respect from the them.

“I don’t feel any awkwardness about being their age,” Prue said. “A lot of them call me ‘coach’ and see me as a coaching figure. They didn’t even think about the fact that I’m their age.”

Prue was a 1,000-point scorer at Edward Little and helped lead the Red Eddies to two KVAC championships games and one title. She also competed in soccer, softball, lacrosse and track at EL.

Prue is enjoying being involved in coaching, which is also one of her interests. Her plate is still full, but she might stay involved in coaching.

“A lot of people have asked me if it’s something I’d like to do in the future,” Prue said. “I’m not saying no, but I’m not saying, ‘yeah, that’s exactly what I’m going to be doing.’”

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Returning players: Sr G Kristin Calvo (5.6 ppg, 2.1 apg), Jr. F Chelsea Nason (7.9 ppg, 6.5 rpg), Alli Coppola (7.5 ppg, 7.1 rpg), So F Bernadette Connors (5.5 ppg, 3.1 rpb, 2.3 apg), Sr. F Molly Brown (13.9 ppg, 4.4 rpb in 2013-14).

New players: So G Alexa Goldman, Fr G Jackie Welch, Fr G Eve Zuckoff, Fr G Alex Buonfiglio, Fr G Lyse Henshaw, Fr G Emily Freedland, Fr F Alanna Morque, Fr F Lexie Nason, Fr F Kasey Hartung, Fr G Ashley Kulesza.

Overview:

The Bobcats are coming off one of the worst seasons in Jim Murphy’s two decades as coach. Bates went just 1-9 in the NESCAC and graduated Meredith Kelly, the team’s go-to player.

Still, Bates returns five players that are ready for bigger roles and the Bobcats have 10 new players, including nine freshmen, giving the Bobcats some depth and promising talent.

“Our numbers are much better than in the past couple of years,” Murphy said. “We have 15 on the roster. The practices have been very competitive, high energy, a lot of enthusiasm, which is fabulous.”

Bates returns five players with experience at the collegiate level. Connors and Coppola both started all 24 games as sophomores. Calvo played in 16 games before travelling abroad. Brown played as a freshman and sophomore before missing all of last year to injury.

With that group of experienced players and a solid group of new players that include locals Henshaw (Brunswick) and Welch (Falmouth), Bates is hoping to build a better club this season. It will take some time for the veterans to adjust to their new roles while the new players settle into the college level.

“Having 10 players new to the program, it’s a learning process for these players,” Murphy said.


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