Team Approach Helps Women's Player With all her Roles

Whitney Wolf finds motivation and inspiration from her daughter, Lauraina.

For Whitney Wolf, a full-time student who works full time, has a young daughter, and plays basketball for Virginia Peninsula Community College, it’s all about teamwork.

Teamwork between VPCC and Rappahannock Community College that is allowing her to graduate from RCC in May. Teamwork with her boyfriend and their families in raising their daughter. Teamwork within the Gators athletic department that allows her to play a sport she loves.

“I’m just extremely blessed that I got to have this path,” she said after a recent practice.

That path began in Pensacola, Fla., where she grew up. It took her to Montross, Va., where she graduated from Washington & Lee High School in 2019, and then to VPCC and RCC, where she is studying psychology. She takes four classes a semester at each college, all online, and the VPCC classes count toward her degree from RCC.

She hasn’t decided what she will do next regarding her education, but is considering a career in physical therapy.

“If I go to a four-year school, I want to gear it toward that,” she said.

When she heard about VPCC’s women’s basketball program, she knew she had to give it a shot.

“I played in high school, and it was a great experience,” she said.

She reached out to coach Keith Stagg, who is glad she did. He said when recruits are brought in, the coaching staff points to Wolf as a model Gator and a great ambassador for the program.

“We look at her and say, ‘This is a hardworking person. She’s got a lot of stuff going on. She’s always here. She works hard when she gets here,’” he said.

Stagg also stresses how she takes care of her classwork.

“Which is the No.1 reason why she’s here,” he said.

On the court, she’s a valuable teammate. Stagg listed defense and passing as her strengths, along with her ability to do things that don’t show up in the box score, but help the other players. Her movement without the ball, and her ability to set screens often lead to open shots for others.

“She’s not a ball hog, so if she’s not ready to go and score, she’ll move the ball along,” he said, which is important with the motion offense the team runs.

He said she needs to work on her offense but is confident her shots will start falling.

“She’s been improving since day one,” he said.

Wolf, who entered RCC in the fall of 2020 and is in her second semester at VPCC, hasn’t played organized basketball since high school.

“I’ve always loved basketball,” said Wolf, who also played soccer and football and ran track and cross country in high school.

She admits it’s not easy with all her roles and responsibilities but believes having a daughter makes it easier.

“I never thought I’d get back to basketball,” she said. “I never really thought I’d go to college, but kids are a motivation.”

Her daughter, Lauraina Wolf, will turn 2 in March. Teamwork is just as important in raising her. She credits her boyfriend, Delvin Palmer, with making it easier.

“He’s very involved. He’s a great dad,” she said.

Their families help, too.

“I have a very supportive family on her dad’s side and my side,” she said.

Wolf said it wouldn’t all be possible without the support of the entire Gators athletics department from the top down. Athletics director and men’s basketball coach Chris Moore helped her through the registration process. Angela Jackson helps her arrange daycare for her daughter when they have away games. The coaching staff understands when she can’t make a practice or is late because of work obligations or mom duty. (But Stagg said Wolf shows up about 95% of the time.)

Her daughter also is a regular at practice, and if Lauraina starts to become a distraction, the coaches help. Wolf likes being able to share her love of basketball with her daughter, who has a basketball hoop in her room.

“Every day when we get home, she’s in there shooting,” Wolf said. “I’m glad she gets to grow up in this environment.”

It’s a team effort all the way around with her VPCC family.

“They’ve all been really great just helping me be a mom and a student-athlete,” Wolf said. “The whole athletic department is just amazing.”