BASKETBALL ISSUE | Fighting like a Bulldog

Photo by Maria Porter

Women’s basketball coach Beth Couture is a fighter. But she won’t tell you that.

After successfully battling breast cancer, Couture never missed a beat, continuing to coach and leading her team to numerous NCAA tournament postseason appearances.

“A fighter is absolutely an accurate title for her,” associate head women’s coach Amy Cherubini said. “She has a lot of passion, and she fought cancer just like she fights on the court. That makes her a success story with her career and her life as well.”

Couture even fought through a two-day, 15-mile walk to raise money and awareness for cancer and said she was motivated to keep going by the generosity of the doctors she received treatment from when she was recovering from cancer.

“It was just a small thing I could do to give back to the doctors and nurses that treat women all across Indianapolis,” Couture said.

Despite being labeled as a fighter, Couture said she finds it odd and would rather see the title given to her players.

“I find that weird when I hear people say that because it is something that is natural for me,” Couture said. “I am honored people think of me that way, and I hope I can live up to that. I just think that success is a choice and when you compete, effort is very important.”

Overall, Couture said that despite the team losing many of its seniors last season, she has high expectations and predicts the will do well this season.

“After losing five players we will have a new look,” Couture said. “Sarah Hamm and Terra Burns are two important ingredients in helping our team, but we will definitely need experience to develop into a solid team.”

Couture said she hopes the team will improve with the older players mentoring the younger players. Couture named Burns as one of the team’s key leaders and expects her to help the younger players improve.

“Our upperclassmen have to mentor the younger players,” Couture said. “It is a long season and I think we have the ingredients to help teach them.”

Though last season the team’s away record was 7-9, Couture said she thinks the team’s youth will actually help them at away games.

“That record was weird because usually our away record is better,” Couture said. “It is up to us as coaches to develop an atmosphere that is conducive for basketball. Usually younger players are more comfortable at away games since they are not used to playing in front of the home crowd, which can get to them.”

Burns said she thinks Couture’s connection to her players is what makes her a good coach.

“Me and coach are really tight,” Burns said. “She has great communication with her players. Of course we are supposed to do our job on the court but of course she still cares for us. Her fight with cancer is inspiring.”

Overall, Couture said that her battle with cancer definitely changed her perspective in coaching and in life.

“It makes you change your priorities and teaches you to not sweat the small stuff,” Couture said. “You just have to let things go and see what is important and reprioritize.”

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