|ISU women ready to rumble in new season|
|Written by Emily Warner, Daily Vidette Senior Staff|
|Sunday, 14 November 2010 21:19|
At the start of the 2009-10 ISU women’s basketball season, the Redbirds were dealt a void to fill.
With the graduation of star point guard Kristi Cirone, the ‘Birds needed to fill the space of their scoring guard. Enter Ashleen Bracey, Maggie Krick and Nicolle Lewis. The trio consistently produced the bulk of ISU’s points creating a new dynamic.
At the end of last season, the team’s head coach Robin Pingeton departed to leave the Redbirds with yet another void. Enter Stephanie Glance. Although in her first stint as ISU head coach, Glance has had experience as an assistant coach under basketball coaching legends Pat Summit and Kay Yow.
Now at the start of a new season, with a new head coach in tow, the scoring void has rehashed itself once again with ISU’s leading scorers graduated and gone.
“We were asked this question when Kristi Cirone left, ‘How will we adjust?’” senior forward Kenyatta Shelton said. “I think we’re going to fall in that same pattern, we’ll answer it just fine.”
As for adjusting to Glance and her coaching staff, the ‘Birds have done just fine.
“The new coaching staff is awesome,” senior point guard Amanda Clifton said. “We couldn’t have gotten a better coaching staff, so because of that it’s easy for us.”
Clifton and Shelton will be two Redbirds who will be looked at to take on a scoring role.
Shelton, a forward who is returning after sitting last season out with an ACL injury, has much to prove and has the talent to do so. In the past, Clifton has had more of a passing mentality, but this season she will take on a larger scoring role that she is ready to be comfortable with.
ISU has a strong amount of upperclassmen that are all likely to have scoring roles. Junior guard Katie Broadway returns this year as the ‘Birds’ leading scorer after averaging 7.7 points per game last season.
“She has really worked very hard. She’s a great shooter— quick release, I love that in a shooter,” Glance said.
Broadway was hot from beyond the arc last season with 56 three-pointers.
“I think the three-point line will be guarded a little harder this year. But I’ve been working hard on different things so I will be better rounded.”
The Redbirds have five seniors that will act as a strong backbone for the team, all loaded with talent and experience, including: seniors Emily Hanley, Shala Jackson and Hannah Spanich.
“I’ve been in coaching for quite a few years and I have to say, I have never been a part of a team that has worked any harder than this team,” Glance said. “That’s over a lot of years and that’s at some really great programs and great teams…They just come out and they go about the task at hand and they do it with such intensity and such a positive attitude and such great effort.”
Sophomore guard Alexis Jenkins will again have a consistent role in the Redbirds’ rotation while her classmate, sophomore center Megan Grace will help out more often this year, putting her 6-foot-4 stature to use.
“[Grace] needs to go against physical play and she needs to get stronger around the basket,” Glance said. “I talk to her about wanting to be a finesse player. You don’t want to give up your size, you’re blessed with great size and you want to be able to use that.”
ISU opened the season on the road when they traveled to Champaign, Ill., to face-off against in-state rival Illinois on Nov. 12. The Redbirds defeated the Illini 69-62 to start the season off with a win.
Sophomore transfer Candace Sykes was able to make her ISU debut against Illinois instead of having to oblige to the NCAA rule of sitting out two semesters since transferring in January 2010. Although the coaching staff is new to the MVC, the Redbirds are confident they will still be able to achieve their winning goals.
“[The coaching staff] doesn’t have any experience with the Valley, but they have experiences with other conferences,” Hanley said. “They have a great perspective and knowledge base that is going to help us in the long run. I’m sure the Valley will be an adjustment for them, maybe, but they still are bringing a much different view that will help us.”