The Alma College Women's Basketball team enter the 2012-13 season with high hopes for a successful season. The Scots, who had an overall record of 7-18 last year, have the deepest roster in Head Coach Keisha Brown's four-year tenure with the program.
As the team looks to improve on past seasons, Brown believes the team can reach certain goals and be highly competitive in a tough MIAA conference.
"There is no reason why this team cannot be a .500 or better squad," said Brown. "That would be a sign of success for us. We have grown and gotten better each year statistically, but it is time to be better in the win-loss column. I believe this team can do that and I am really excited to get it started."
With the added depth, Brown has tremendous versatility with multiple players being able to play more than one position. Brown is looking to seniors F Danielle Hicks (Marshall, Mich./Marshall) and Stephanie Faller (Saginaw, Mich./Valley Lutheran) to provide the leadership on the offensive side of the ball.
"Steph Faller has really come out of her shell and in her four years here, this is the most vocal she has been out on the court," said Brown. "She is the true quarterback on the floor and she sees the floor well. Hicks is very athletic and kind of a quiet leader for us. We know she will give us the double digit points and contribute with rebounding as well."
So. G Grace Wheeler (St. Ignace, Mich./LaSalle) led the Scots in scoring last season with 9.2 points per game, while Hicks was next at 8.3 ppg. Other returners that were in the top five of scoring last season include So. G Mallory Pruett (Ishpeming, Mich./Ishpeming) and Jr. C Sarah Stinson (Waterford, Mich./Kettering). They averaged 6.9 and 6.1 points per game respectively. Hicks was the team's leading rebounder at 8.8 rebounds per game.
Alma's defense has a been a team strength the past couple of seasons and Brown has a philosophy of the team being a "nuisance" to the opposing squad. The Scots will look to force teams to rush their sets and take off balance shots by playing an in your face type of defense.
Last season, opponents averaged 66.6 points per game and 41% shooting from the floor and Alma will look to lower those numbers in 2012-13.
Optimism abounds for the Scots heading into the season but it hasn't been without some hardship as it begins. Injuries have wreaked some havoc on the squad during preseason workouts and it will be a few weeks before the team is at full strength.
"We have constantly had to replace people in practice and have not had a chance to get the core group out on the floor, so that will take some time" said Brown. "But, that is where our added depth and versatility has come into play for us. We have had to do a lot of adjusting but we have the numbers to make that okay."
Returning juniors to keep an eye on for the Scots are G Brittany Deerfield (Gaylord, Mich./Gaylord), F Bailey Gooding (Gaylord, Mich./Gaylord) and F Mary Schlicher (Lewiston, Mich./Johannesburg-Lewiston).