Coach Elizabeth Monroe Enforces Togetherness, Grit, Discipline, and Respect

After a two-year collegiate basketball career at Haverford College, Andover Girls Basketball Head Coach Elizabeth Monroe found herself teaching at Thomas Jefferson School in St. Louis, Missouri, where coaching was a requirement. Eager to get back to the game, Monroe stepped into her first basketball coaching position at the school and has been coaching ever since.

Now, in her ninth year at Andover, Monroe, with the help of her players, prioritizes four values to serve as the foundation for this year’s team: togetherness, grit, discipline, and respect. In terms of togetherness, for Monroe, communication and energy are crucial to maintaining this core value.

“I think communication is absolutely key, and we’ve been doing a way better job at that this year. I think playing together…that sort of togetherness and supporting each other is also really key. And I think just bringing energy and bringing intensity from the start of the game to the end of it,” said Monroe.

Monroe aims to help her players grow from an individual and collective standpoint. Ava Davey ’25 reflected on Monroe’s efforts to provide detailed feedback during practices, in addition to organizing one-on-one meetings to connect with players.

“Mostly in practice, it is led by example, like boxing out and rebounding. More personalized feedback comes from when we’re running certain offenses and when we break down our pressing strategies, which we use in games, which is super helpful,” said Davey.

Rather than taking control on gameday, Monroe prefers to allow the team to make its own decisions. Thus, Monroe uses practices to build confidence and consistency in her players. 

“I sort of feel like I’m a teacher first, so I try to lead by helping them feel like they can take control, and they can learn the game better and be able to go out there and execute. My high school coach always said that his ideal game is one where he could just sit there and say nothing and everyone would work because he’d done such a good job coaching them. And I think that would be my ideal game too,” said Monroe. 

Even after losses, Monroe stays positive and focuses on what can be improved upon for future games. Leila Boesch-Powers ’24 appreciates Monroe’s respect for her players, alongside the constant desire to help others succeed. 

“It’s really evident that she cares a lot about the team and how we do, not how we do in terms of the outcome, but how we play as a team, going back to togetherness. Even when we don’t have a great game, or even when we lose, she’s always very positive in terms of telling us what we did well, and encouraging us to continue the work and the grit that we put into the game,” said Boesch-Powers.

Monroe brings the best out of her players through setting high standards, according to Davey. Monroe strives to simulate game-like scenarios in practices, both physically and mentally. 

“I’ve learned to never give up even when things get tough. A lot of our games this season have been really hard and close games, and by setting the tone in practice, we are able to continue to push even harder when we are down. She always says, ‘Practice how you’re going to play,’ and by making that a team rule and value, we can make each other better. Since our bar is set high, it is important that we always rise to the occasion and try our best no matter the outcome,” said Davey.

Looking ahead to the rest of the season, Monroe hopes to strengthen the team’s 8-5 record before the NEPSAC Class A Championships in early March. 

“I’d like to see us keep that momentum going. We need to get a little bit better at coming off the bus for away games. We play a little flat sometimes at our away games, and we have a lot of away games this season, so we have to make sure that we do that. Ultimately, I’d like to get back to the Class A Championship and hopefully get out of the first round for the first time in a couple of years,” said Monroe.