Photos by Tessa Marie Images
Swarthmore College women’s basketball star and Centennial Conference Rookie of the Year Dana Bandurick reflects on the team’s recent success.
A premed student majoring in neuroscience and minoring in Spanish at Swarthmore College, Dana Bandurick has been called the “Shot Doctor”—and for good reason. The 6-foot senior was the Centennial Conference Rookie of the Year as a freshman, and she began this season as one of three returning All-Centennial First Team players in the league. Under new coach Dawn Grant, the women’s squad finished 14-11 last year, its first winning season since 2013-14. In the four years before Bandurick’s arrival, Swarthmore had won just 15 games combined.
MLT: Why are you the “Shot Doctor”?
DB: Well, it was the headline of an article, but no one really calls me that. I don’t refer to myself as that, but maybe … We’ll see how the season goes.
MLT: What’s the difference in your team of late?
DB: The big thing is team culture. We have players excited about the season, so we’re playing smarter and more together. That’s a big change. We’re close off the court too, and that translates to success on the court. We’re more optimistic and capable, so now we’re hopeful we can keep improving.
MLT: Is there a team mantra?
DB: We have this acronym, ACT, which stands for attitude, communication and trust. It’s about trying to foster the best team environment possible. In reflecting on this past season, we want to be cognizant of tangible goals, rather than just say we want to be better or work harder. We’re focusing on the small things and being more positive—so that’s definitely helped us.
MLT: Is the newfound success at Swarthmore due to your play?
DB: A lot of people say that, but it’s definitely not all on me. I have great teammates and a coaching staff that I’m now excited to work with. Individually, I’ve changed my attitude. I’m playing more purposefully and aggressively, putting it all on the floor instead of overthinking. I used to worry about making mistakes and not being perfect. Now I’m more of a risk taker. I realize I’m a solid player, so I trust my instincts.
MLT: With Swarthmore’s stellar academic reputation, is winning basketball games really that important?
DB: We’re all really thankful we’re getting a great education, but we’re all still competitive. We’re not playing without a purpose. It’s why I love Division III. We’re all here playing the sport because we love it.