With three years of collegiate basketball at Binghamton under her belt, senior forward Kaylee Wasco is now a leader for the Bearcats on a young roster. Wasco is now the only senior on the team this year and is looking to lead the Bearcats to success this year.

Wasco, a Midland, Michigan native, played in all 31 games last season, averaging 5.2 points a game. She typically appeared off the bench last year, but with the Bearcats losing all five of their starters from last season, she is expected to be put into an elevated role this season.

“For my own game, I’m a center, so I’m a post player,” Wasco said. “I’m under the basket most of the time, so for my own game I’ve been really been working on ways that to be able to step out and not just be under the basket posting up. I’ve been working on stepping out, shooting and having different options offensively.”

Wasco acknowledges that the absence of fans as a result of COVID-19 safety concerns will make motivation a bit more challenging heading into the upcoming season.

“The reality is we’re not going to have fans,” Wasco said. “It’s not going to be the usual production of what a collegiate basketball season looks like, so we really just get to focus like on ourselves and our game and really playing it like the way it’s supposed to be played.”

Aside from her on-court performance, Wasco knows that she will need to fill her role as a team leader following the departure of last year’s senior class. With this team’s roster being so young, she feels that it is her responsibility to help the younger players adjust to Binghamton and collegiate basketball as a whole.

“I plan on being a vocal leader,” Wasco said. “I put a lot of responsibility on myself to understand how my teammates work and how they respond to things. That doesn’t really have anything to do with a skill level on the court, but just knowing how to talk and be perceived to each teammate so that they can hear the words.”

Wasco has also been looking back to seniors before her, including former Bearcat guard Kai Moon, ‘20, for inspiration on how to lead the team.

“I definitely look at the past seniors I’ve played with before, [Moon] being our leading scorer and one of the seniors last year,” Wasco said. “There was a point in time where I asked myself, ‘I’m not Kai Moon, and I don’t know how I’m supposed to be Kai Moon for the team,’ but what it really comes down to is being a leader. It comes down to knowing your own strengths and using those strengths to help find the strengths of other people.”

With the team losing core pieces of last season’s success, Wasco knows that there are people who doubt if the team can repeat and expand upon last season. She says that the team is embracing the “underdog” mentality and is using it for motivation.

“My goal this season is to prove everyone wrong,” Wasco said. “Just because we are a young team doesn’t mean that we can’t get stuff done and I think a lot of people are taking us for granted seeing that we lost all five of our starters. My goal is to really just prove a bunch of people wrong.”