As the coronavirus began sweeping the United States in early March and cancellations of athletic competitions started trickling in, the Boston University women’s basketball team was hoping to just finish out their season.
On March 12, the Terriers were scheduled to face Lehigh University in the Patriot League Tournament semifinals. BU was able to have a shoot-around and had expected to play the game, but head coach Marisa Moseley then gathered her team to announce the tournament had been canceled, causing an abrupt end to the season.
One of several Terriers who had the rug pulled out from under them at that moment was then-junior guard Tenisha Pressley, who said the cancellation sent shockwaves throughout the team.
“It was just a very surreal moment,” Pressley said. “You looked around the faces and everybody just had a stone face like it didn’t really just happen.”
Pressley, a New Jersey native now in her senior year, was then forced to concoct new ways of staying in shape while away from the team, which included team workouts on Zoom and practicing outdoors instead of in a gym.
“We had some challenges that we had to do,” Pressley said. “[We] broke down into teams and [saw] who could get the most points, do the most reps or run the fastest time.”
While the team was away from each other, Pressley took time to guide the incoming freshmen and advise them on balancing classes with team responsibilities.
“Me and another one of the seniors, we talked with the two freshmen that we had, especially over the summer,” Pressley said, “just trying to get them prepared for what to expect in college with not only the practice schedule but a schooling schedule.”
Off the court, Pressley is majoring in health science in the Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. She was named to the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll for winter and spring athletes after earning a 3.75 GPA last Spring.
Pressley, who is studying to become a nurse anesthetist, said the pandemic has motivated her to work harder as she looks to head into the medical field.
“Right now, the entire medical field, they’re not getting much rest. They’re working tirelessly, day and night, to get us through this pandemic,” Pressley said. “It made me look at nursing in a different light and just appreciate it more.”
Moseley said she admires medical workers, and that Pressley fits the profile for a career in health care.
“I think anyone who is in that field is a rock star,” Moseley said. “Tenisha is definitely a team person, really unselfish … It does not surprise me that [nursing] will be her line of work.”
Pressley will be able to take the court for her senior season: the Patriot League announced a 16-game, conference-only schedule on Nov. 9 after months of waiting.
With last season’s unexpectedly abrupt end, Pressley said this campaign is dedicated to last year’s seniors.
“We felt for our seniors, Nia [Irving], Vanessa [Edgehill],” Pressley said, “because that’s not the way that you want to go out.”
As BU nears the tip off of an unprecedented season on Jan. 2, the squad will rely on its seniors, including Pressley, to guide them.
Moseley said she has been impressed by how the seniors have handled the situation, and has noticed they are committed to improving the program as a whole.
“I think they’ve done a great job of taking each day one day at a time,” Moseley said. “We want to make sure that they leave the program better than they found it.”
Pressley said she and other seniors have been trying to inspire the younger players to persevere through current circumstances and to keep team morale up.
“We’re trying to stay positive and encourage them that it’s not like this all the time,” Pressley said, “and it won’t be like this forever.”
As graduation approaches, Pressley said she is undergoing the application process for nursing school, where she aims to continue her educational and professional pursuits after moving on from BU.