2013-14 Alma College Women's Basketball Season Preview

2013-14 Alma College Women's Basketball Season Preview

After finishing with the most wins in a season under fifth-year Head Coach Keisha Brown, the Alma College women's basketball team will rely heavily on youth to try and make the league tournament for the first time under Brown's tutelage.

Featuring only underclassmen, the Scots enter the 2013-14 campaigns as one of the youngest teams in the MIAA. Brown understands the unique challenges that having such a young team brings and is looking forward to see how the women respond in the first few games.

"Its always youthfulness," said Brown. "You get in tough situations at the beginning of the season and you don't know how they are going to respond - are they going to make those freshman mistakes or are they going to rise above it?"

Finding leadership on a team with seven freshmen can be difficult, but Brown believes team captains Mallory Pruett and Morgan Henry are prepared to step up.

"Mallory Pruett and Morgan Henry are my team captains and they have been doing an amazing job bringing the freshmen along and helping the sophomores to remain positive," says Brown. "My leadership will come from my juniors and sophomores because they understand that this is their team and they have to be accountable for not only themselves but their teammates as well."

Even with so many new faces, Brown has seen a special chemistry forming with this year's group.

"Chemistry is our biggest strength, we are not the biggest team in the world but we have great chemistry. Having a good connection with each other will lead to success on the court."

With a guard-heavy rotation, Alma hopes to utilize its speed and tempo to catch opponents by surprise.

"Again, we are not the tallest group of women out there, but we have great speed and that is another major strength the team has this year."

The starting five for the Scots feature four returning starters from last year in Henry, Pruett, Kassidi Adams and Raeanna Zink, with Erica Hansen rounding out the unit.
 
"Pruett will be running that quarterback spot for us out there, she's that voice on the floor and the leader, remarked Brown. "I have Kassidi running the guard-forward spot, providing us with extra encouragement. Zink is a tweaner - she can crash the boards hard and knock down that elbow jumper but at the same time, I can put her down low on the block and have her post up.  Hansen is a bit undersized which means she will be underestimated."
 
Coming of the bench, Brown features a small group of talented young players.
 
"I have a small bench, as far as number goes, but a very good one," stressed Brown. "I have Nicole Green at that guard spot to be our other quarterback out there. Tara Padgett will come in and provide us with more speed - she has outstanding ability to push the ball and she can also pull up and knock down a jumper. Morgan Seaberg comes in and gives us great size and that physical presence down low."  
 
Alma was picked to finish seventh in the MIAA earlier this month but Brown does not let the prediction get to her.
 
"I don't really pay attention to that and as a coach, when you see that, you tend to get that 'Yeah, I'll show them' mindset," stated Brown. "But at the end of the day it was based on last year's performance. Until you see how a team performs this year, it is tough to guess where they are going to finish. The MIAA is going to be a very competitive league this year. I feel like a large number of teams lost some key elements – either they lost that youth they had or an important scorer – I feel like every team lost something. This year you're going to see a lot of competiveness but also uncertainly."
 
The Scots start the season in North Carolina at the Guilford College Tournament on Saturday, November 16, and Brown thinks these two games will be a great indicator of how her team will perform throughout the year.
 
"We are looking forward to the Guilford Tournament because we have spent four weeks going up against each other and we had two scrimmages where we saw improvements - now it's time to play a different kind of competition," concluded Brown. "I am looking forward to seeing how we react to this different type of basketball and how we perform when we are playing somebody other than ourselves."
 
Alma finished last season with a 7-17 overall record with a 6-10 mark in the MIAA.