Sept. 19, 2003
Providence, RI - Coming off one the best turn-around seasons in the nation, Head Coach Jeanne Burr's Brown women's basketball team looks to be a top contender for the Ivy title with the return of all of its players from last year plus some talented newcomers. Burr's 2002-2003 squad posted a 15-12 record, tripling its victory output from the previous year and earned a second place finish in the Ivy standings with a 9-5 league mark. Brown, a dominant program in the Ivy League, has won five titles, including three straight from 1991-94 under the direction of Burr.
"We need to tune into the defense and be able to control the temp of the game and make our opponents work hard for every point they get this season," says Burr. "Last season we held our opponents to 67 points a game. I would like to see us get it down to the low 60's this season." Burr believes the team's strong chemistry, which is most apparant on the court, will help achieve that goal.
Senior guard Tanara Golston (Skokie, IL) is a key component of one of the top backcourts in the league after averaging 12.1 points a game, second best on last year's team. Golston ranked second in the Ivy League with 129 assists (an average of 4.78 per game), including a career high 10 assists against Yale. "She's a great guard off the dribble. She can score driving to the basket hard and she looks to create for her teammates," says Burr. "Her ability to defend consistently will be a key factor to the team's success."
Brown's high-scoring backcourt also features two additional double figure scorers in sophomores Sarah Hayes (Beaufort, SC) and Colleen Kelly (Rochester, NY). Hayes, the Ivy League's Rookie of the Year and five-time Rookie of the Week selection a year ago, averaged 10.0 points per game last season, and 2.56 assists a game as the starting point guard. She scored a career-high 16 points against Princeton on 8 of 14 shooting from the field, and netted 16 points in both games against Columbia."She has outstanding leadership and excellent court sense," says Burr. She really came through when we needed the big play."
A long-range shooter, Kelly ranked third in the Ivy League with 55 three pointers, while averaging 10.7 points per game. A member of the Ivy League's All-Rookie team, Kelly led the Ivy League with 66 steals on the season. Also providing strength to the backcourt is sophomore Jackie Vocell (Atkinson, NH) and junior Sandra Idehen (New York, NY). Vocell was picked as the Ivy League Rookie of the Week for the week of January 13, when she registered 9 points and 2 rebounds in 19 minutes of action against Yale. The addition of freshmen Lena McAfee (Reston, VA) and Stephanie Spada (Norristown, PA) will add depth to the Bears' roster.
Recognized as the dominant shot blocker and post-player in the Ivy League, senior forward Nyema Mitchell (Birmingham, AL) ranked 24th nationally and led the Ivy League with 58 blocked shots. A Second Team All-Ivy selection, Mitchell led the Bears in scoring with 13.3 points per game, including a career high 26 points against Providence, and 25 points against Drake. Mitchell ranked fourth in the league last season with 7.9 rebounds per game. She is also Brown's third all-time leader in blocked shots with 156. "She's an explosive player and she can run the floor and beat any post," says Burr. "We will look to her to make the key rebounds for us and make the big blocks when we need them."
The return of senior Miranda Craigwell (Dorcester, MA), sophomore Ashley Van Kurin (Yorba Linda, CA), junior Holly Robertson (Cochrane, Alberta) and a healthy Andrea Conrad (South Easton, MA) gives the Bears exceptional depth up front. Craigwell saw time in all 27 of Brown's games, averaging 14 minutes a game. She averaged 4.7 points per game, shooting 57% from the field. Van Kurin started all but one of Brown's games last season, and will look to continue her solid play at forward. A tough defender, she was named the team's Defensive Player of the Year as she ranked fourth on the team with 39 steals.
A member of the Canadian Junior Olympic Team, the 6-5 Robertson averaged 7.4 points per game in just over 15 minutes of action per game. Robertson had a career high 22 points on her way to a double-double that also included 10 rebounds in just 24 minutes in a win over Penn. Conrad is expected to make a healthy return to the team this year and will be a force in the paint after missing her entire freshman year due to an injury and being nagged by the same injury much of last season.
Three freshmen will join the frontcourt this season in Kathleen Barr (Lake Forest, IL), Ashley King-Bischof (Pleasanton, CA) and Courtney Peters (Naperville, IL). "We are excited about how the freshmen are going to impact the program," says Burr. "This class has a lot of experience in basketball at a highly competitive level."