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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
May 6, 2024
Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

Women’s Basketball looks to improve on last season

Last year, women’s basketball enjoyed a four-win improvement season. This year’s team looks to forward to taking even a bigger leap.

Rebecca Degroot '14 shoots a jump shot against Central College on Thursday, Nov.17. Photograph by Avery Rowlison.

The Pioneers finished last season with an overall record of 9-13, 8-10 in conference. The team was three victories shy of qualifying for the tournament. The squad looks to change that this year.

“Our athletes started taking that extra step last spring when they decided to work very hard in the off-season getting better as individuals,” Head Coach Kate Gluckman said. “We can now do more as a team because they have elevated their game.”

Captains Ashley Jeannin ’12 and Megan Huey ’12, the only seniors on the team, will lead the hopeful and enthusiastic squad.

“Even though we only have two seniors on the roster, Ashley and Meg and extremely strong leaders that have already, and will continue to, keep the team focused on our goals, motivated, and aware of our potential as a team,” Michelle Briggs ’13 said. “They have very high expectations for this season and will do everything they can to achieve that.”

One area of the game the team expects to improve on is offense. While the defense was formidable last year, allowing only 57.9 points per game and 38 percent shooting, the offense only managed to score 55.1 points per game.

“We need to mesh better and work some more on our new offence,” Rebecca DeGroot ’14 said. “There are a lot of opportunities that come out of our new offence but we need to find the open shooter quicker.”

Losing Jessica Vaverka ‘11, the team’s leading scorer last year, along with Brianna Gallo ’11 and Mallory Scharf ’11 will create a lot of room current players to contribute more to the team.

“We lost great leaders in last year’s seniors, and our leading scorer from last season,” Tolu Alabi ’13 said. “But we are not too bothered because many players have stepped up to fill those spots. People have become more vocal and also, many people have become great scoring options.”

Along with its strong defense, interior presence and rebounding was another strong part of its game as it was third in the league in rebounding margin with +4.2. Briggs led the team in the department with 8.0 per game, second best in the MWC. Briggs also averaged eight points per game while blocking a conference best 84 shots. DeGroot and Alabi averaged 5.1 and 5.0 rebounds per game, respectively.

“I’m excited to see our two centers Michelle and Elizabeth Burnett ’13 back in action,” Gluckman said. “Michelle had an incredible end to her season last year and is a defensive and offensive threat. Liz has come into the season with a new focus and intensity. She is a low post player who is strong in the lane. Together, Liz and Michelle should cause our opponents some serious trouble.”

Other players Gluckman expect to fill in larger shoes are DeGroot and Abby Jaeger ’14.

“We are returning Becca DeGroot and Abby Jaeger who both started for us at different points last season,” she said. “Abby is a feisty point guard and Becca is a very talented shooting guard.”

DeGroot averaged 5.7 points and 5.1 rebounds a game, while Jaeger averaged 1.5 assists an outing.
The Pioneers were ranked seventh in the preseason coaches’ poll out of ten teams in the conference. Because the team expects to reach conference, thus finishing top four in the conference, the ranking has fueled and motivated the team to prove the coaches wrong.

“I think this is a complete underestimation of our potential as a team,” Alabi said. “I strongly believe that we have the ability to finish in the top four. I like the way we are being viewed as underdogs and it will only add to the excitement when we begin to trump over teams.”

The team welcomes three new first-year players to help improve the team: Cristal Coleman ’15, Alex Plemmons ’15, and Jordan Schellinger ’15.

“The first years are doing really great and are putting in extra time during the week as well to get better,” DeGroot said. “I think that speaks a lot about their dedication to our team and their individual performances.”

Isabelle Miller ’13, a strong performer in the track team, also joins the team while Erica Tharp ’13 rejoins the team after taking a year off.

Pioneers will open the season against Central on Nov. 17 and finish this week’s game at Ashford on Nov. 19.

“I expect us to continue to develop our new offense and be more aware of what we can really get out of it. I also expect us to start to flow more as a team,” Briggs said.

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