Reward to come
by Jerel Ricketts
During an uncharacteristic, off year for the University of West Florida’s women’s basketball team, Danielle Norquest, a junior forward out of Diamond, Ohio, is still finding a way to hang amongst the nation’s best.
Norquest ranks number one in the nation for total double-doubles and total rebounds.
“There’s always a way I can do more and contribute but overall it’s an honor to have my name under that stat line,” Norquest said.
Although it is refreshing for Danielle to see all the hard work, she has put in pay off, she says she would trade in all the stats for a bigger number elsewhere.
“It’s never been about the stats for me,” Norquest said. “I’d trade it all in for a bigger number in the win column.”
The humility of the Argonauts star forward is not anything new and it has not gone unnoticed.
Halee Nieman, a close friend and a former all-conference player for the Argonauts and teammate of Norquest, joked that Danielle is humble towards everyone except her.
“She will hit me with a ‘how many double-doubles did you have in college?” Nieman said.
Even though it was difficult to get Danielle to talk about herself, what she is doing on the court this season cannot be forgotten.
Norquest is averaging a double-double, tallying 14.5 points and just over 12 rebounds per game.
In a previous interview from earlier this year head coach Stephanie Yelton mentioned how she talked to Danielle before the start of the season about being ready to step into the spotlight and lead the team.
“This year it was about ‘okay, the spot is either yours or it’s not… I think she’s continued to get better as the seasons progressed,”said Yelton.
West Florida is 5-15 and 1-11 in the GSC and is currently on a four-game losing streak.
This is the worst start to the season for the Argonauts since their 2012-2013 campaign in which they finished the season 6-21.
The Argonauts, who’s roster only has eight players on it, have been through a lot already this season.
“We’ve been through it all,” Norquest said. “Girls quitting, injury, sickness, coming up short time and time again.”
Amid the tribulations that the team is facing, Danielle is hopeful of the future and plans on a historic year for her and her teammates.
“My senior year I have big things in mind,” Norquest said. “We’re going through the rough patches now so that by [next season] we’re out of the tunnel and onto great things. I’m thinking we get a ring.”
There is no question when it comes to Danielle’s passion and love for the game.
“I’m not the most skilled basketball player there is, I know I’m not, but I like playing the game. I’m not even thinking about double-doubles. I play hard. I just like the game,” Norquest shared in a previous interview.
Norquest hopes to make the most out of senior year and she plans to use this upcoming off-season perfect her craft.
“I just want to continue working on my game. I want to start becoming more versatile,” Norquest said. She wants to improve her ball handling and outside game.
Not only is Danielle a force on the court but her accomplishments in the classroom are just as great boasting better than a 3.8 GPA.
Coach Yelton made sure to emphasize the efforts that Danielle devotes to school.
“She is a high caliber student-athlete,” Yelton said.
Even Nieman went as far as to say that Norquest is the “definition of a student-athlete.”
Norquest knows what it will take next year for the team to accomplish the things they hope to, her answer was simple.
“Hunger and grit,” said Norquest.
Photo courtesy of GoArgos.com