Experienced juniors to lead BCBy Tim Stried, SID
October 26, 1999
With three of their top four scorers back from last season's squad, the Bluffton College women's basketball team have their sights set high for the 1999-2000 basketball season.
BC finished 12-14 overall last season and 5-7 in their first year in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference. And despite the fact that there are no seniors on this year's squad, optimism is running high in the Bluffton camp. "I am very optimistic," said tenth year head coach Michele Durand. "All of our juniors have quite a bit of experience and I believe we have some newcomers that will help us immediately."
The first job for Durand and her group of juniors will be to find replacements for the graduated Jill Laughlin and Lori Kerchenfaut. The duo combined for 17.8 points and 7.6 rebounds per game last season and led the Beavers in assists and steals, respectively. Returning, however, are Bluffton's top two scorers, juniors Bree Wood (Wauseon, OH) and Elizabeth Bock (Maumee, OH). Wood averaged 10.7 points per game in 1998-99, 4.7 rebounds and dished out 55 assists, while Bock averaged 10.6 points and 6.7 rebounds per game and was named to the pre-season All-HCAC team.
"We have a good group coming back," said Wood, a two-year varsity performer already. "The upperclassmen have done a good job as far as leadership. They have taken over the role of seniors," she continued. Returning for BC are junior post players Elizabeth Snavely (6'0", 8.7 ppg, 5.5 rpg, Defiance, OH) and Jennifer Bear (6'1", 5.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg, Grover Hill, OH, Lincolnview HS). Also back at a guard position is Kristy Crall (Bucyrus, OH, Wynford HS), who started seven games last season, averaging 6.3 points per game and recording 42 steals.
Offensively, establishing a strong inside game is high on Durand's to-do list. "We have some very strong post players returning as well as some good first year players who play the post. Our first option will be to get the ball inside, which should open up our perimeter players," said the 1988 Bluffton College graduate who reached the 100 win mark last season.
However, fans in Founders Hall this winter can also expect a fast-paced attack, as well. "We hope to be up-tempo," said Wood, and Durand agreed, saying "I'm hoping to be able to push the ball up the floor. We will emphasize our defense which will hopefully create some offense."
Moving up in the tough HCAC will be the results of meeting those goals. "We were very competitive last season in the conference," said Durand. "Hopefully our experience will help us win the close games," she commented noting that the Beavers dropped eight contests last season by seven points or less and three in overtime. Included in those close losses was a three point decision to 20 game winner Wilmington in the regular season, as well.
"We'll be a contender," said Wood. "We did well last year and hopefully this year we'll be at the top."
Looking to make up for lost time will be junior Amy Aschemeier, (5.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg, Napoleon, OH) who started four of the six games she played in last season before being forced out of action for most of last season will an illness. Newcomers looking to make an impact include Heather Demery (5'9", Cleveland Lutheran West HS), Paula Fry (5'4", Edon HS), Kristin Helvey (5'4", Toledo Central Catholic HS), Melissa James (5'9" Marion Elgin HS), Kathryn Linehan (5'10", Pettisville HS), Michelle Ray (5'10" Kenton HS), Lyndsey Robinson (5'10" Fostoria HS), Erica Rock (6'2" Norwalk HS), Kristen Siller (5'1" Pettisville HS), Kelly Stieber (5'3" Canton South HS) and Erica Tartt (5'8" Canal Winchester, OH, World Harvest HS).