Bluffton hopes to be reloaded for 2001-02 campaignNovember 2, 2001
Many new faces will be on the court this winter for the Bluffton College women's basketball team as the Beavers competes for their fourth straight trip to the Heartland Conference tournament semi-finals. And leading the team to that destination are five returning letterwinners and new head coach Cathy Bonner.
Bonner, an assistant for BC last season, took over the program in June as former head coach Michele Durand stepped down after 11 seasons and a school-record 121 wins. Five of the team's top six scorers from last season's team, which finished 12-14, are also gone as graduation took 66% of last season's offense.
|Sophomore guard Karen Harris (left) and junior forward Melissa James (right) can be quick producers at both ends of the court.|
Without a senior on this year's team, Bonner will look to a returning group eight juniors and four sophomores to get the job done this season. Only five of those 12 veterans have significant varsity experience, however, and combined for just 23 starts last season as a senior-dominated squad played the majority of the minutes on the court.
Three of those juniors have been selected as captains for this season and will provide a solid foundation for the team throughout the season. That trio includes 5-9 forward Melissa James, 5-10 forward Michelle Ray and 6-2 center Erica Rock.
|Junior Michelle Ray can score from inside and outside the paint and has been selected as one of three captains this season.|
James (3.9 ppg, 2.7 rpg) and Ray (3.6 ppg, 2.6 rpg) both have been varsity contributors their first two seasons and will be called on to help replace much of the offense that graduated from last season. Rock was sidelined with injuries most of last season and is looking forward to getting healthy and becoming a varsity contributor.
The six seniors that departed from last season's squad won't be soon forgotten among BC basketball fans and include Amy Aschemeier, Jen Bear, Liz Bock, Kristy Crall, Elizabeth Snavely and Bree Wood. Bear (12.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg), who was a first-team All-HCAC selection last season, and Snavely (12.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg) ranked among the league leaders in most statistical categories, as did Crall (8.2 ppg, 36 3ptrs) who led the HCAC in 3-point shooting percentage. Wood (4.4 ppg, 2.7 rpg), a four-year starter, and Aschemeier (1.6 ppg, 2.0 rpg) both provided a spark at both ends of the court.
|Junior guard Kristin Helvey ranked in the top-10 in the HCAC last season in 3-pointers, assists and steals.|
Junior guard Kristin Helvey, a two-year starter, is back after a sophomore season that included 9.8 points per game, 3.3 rebounds per game, 84 assists and 26 three-pointers. Her assist total ranked second in the league and her 3-point total ranked fourth. The HCAC Freshman of the Year two years ago, she is already among the top eight in career 3-pointers, steals and assists in BC history.
Sophomores Karen Karris (3.6 ppg) and Jennifer Treat (3.1 ppg) are also back and are ready to step into leadership roles after showing great potential last season as freshmen. Junior Lyndsey Robinson battled through an injury last season and only played in six games, but brings experience in the post after seeing action in 22 games as a freshman when she averaged 3.5 points per game.
Juniors Heather Demery, Paula Fry and Kristen Siller have seen some varsity experience over the last two years and will compete for playing time along with sophomores Lindsey Bacon and Kelsey Studer.
Eight freshmen are new to the program this season and will factor into the equation for Bonner's squad this year. Included in that class are 5-7 guard Christina Champion, 5-4 guard Lindsey Delscamp, 5-8 forward Kerrie Ericson, 5-5 guard Jennifer Ott, 5-6 guard Natalie Seroka, 5-8 guard Kari Sommer, 6-1 center Cara Young and 5-8 forward Meghan Zorn.