2004-2005 Women's Basketball Preview
Oct. 18, 2004
Providence, RI - After ending the 2003-04 campaign on a strong note, winning seven of its last eight games, the Brown women's basketball team hopes to continue where it left off this coming season. Head Coach Jean Marie Burr's squad will also look to maintain its standing as the top defensive team in the Ivy League.
For the second year in a row, Brown boasted the number one defense in the Ivy League, holding opponents to just 63.0 points per game and 38.9% shooting last season. "I think defense reflects our system. Our team takes a lot of pride in being able to make stops," says Burr. "It is definitely a reflection of our chemistry." The Bears secured wins over all seven Ivy opponents for the first time since its 1992-93 NCAA Tournament appearance season as well.
With every new season comes new challenges, but Burr is confident her team can meet the obstacles it faces through strong teamwork. "We graduated a large class but we have an experienced group coming back," says Burr. "Roles are going to change and we will be facing some very tough competition early on in the season. In order for us to be successful, we have to take this challenge to heart. More importantly, we have to take teamwork to heart and what that really means is focusing on the big picture, keeping a close eye on our goals and letting nothing distract us."
Headlining the 2004-05 squad will be senior center Holly Robertson (Cochrane, Alberta) along with junior guards Sarah Hayes (Beaufort, SC) and Colleen Kelly (Rochester, NY). "Our starting rotation is wide open right now. We have a lot of depth on our roster that allows us the flexibility to go with a four guard lineup or a more powerful lineup up-front," says Burr. "We have players with experience that have patiently waited and are ready to step up."
Backcourt: A strong reliable leader, Hayes finished second in the league in steals with 2.04 per game last season. As the Bears 5'8" point guard, Hayes, a two-time All-Ivy Honorable Mention and 2003 Ivy Rookie of the Year, led the team and was seventh in the league in rebounding with 6.9 per game, including three offensive boards per contest. A double-digits scorer with 10.2 ppg last season, Hayes is also expected to help fill the offensive void left by Nyema Mitchell '04 and Tanara Golston '04.
"Sarah came out of a program in Beaufort, South Carolina that allowed her to be the number one scorer. Now she's going to have to take on that role where when she gets her hands on the basketball, she has to look to go to the rim," says Burr.
Kelly is another scoring threat who can be relied on to put points up on the board. Despite having to fight off nagging injuries throughout last season, Kelly was the team's unsung hero. "She did quite a bit for us off the ball and defensively. We could always depend on her for taking charges," says Burr. "This season she will need to be consistent in some prominent categories for us." A long-range shooter, Kelly averaged 8.7 ppg one year ago. As a rookie in 2002-03 she broke the Brown record for three's in a season with 55.
Sophomore Lena McAfee (Reston, VA) returns to the lineup following a successful freshman campaign which she led all Brown first-year players in virtually every statistical category. A versatile player, McAfee should see increased time on the court. "She has come back really strong," says Burr. "Her quickness defensively is going to be key for us this season. She has the perfect mixture of athleticism, skill, and competitiveness," says Burr.
Junior Jaclyn Vocell (Atkinson,NH) adds additional depth and experience to the backcourt, having played in 50 games in her two-year career. Last season Vocell was hampered by injuries but had a very productive season as a freshman in 2002-03. Her long-range shot paired with her passing ability will aid the Bears' backcourt tremendously this season.
Also returning for her sophomore campaign is Kathleen Barr (Lake Forest, IL). Barr saw increased time as the season went on last year and will challenge for additional time this season. Senior Sandra Idehen (New York, NY) will close out her career with the Bears this season after serving as a reserve in the backcourt. Originally a walk-on, she will earn her fourth letter at the conclusion of the season.
Freshman Anne O'Neal (Franklin, GA), who attended Heard County High School, was a Gatorade Player of the Year in both basketball and softball. She is an explosive scorer who can also distribute the ball well.
Frontcourt: Robertson is the Bears' returning leading scorer after stepping into a starting role midway through the season. In 22 minutes of action, Robertson poured in 11 points per game and pulled down 6.6 rebounds per contest, second on the team. In Ivy play, she averaged 14.1 points and 7.1 boards, leading to Second Team All-Ivy honors. A threat from three-point range, the 6'5" center scored a career-high 27 points in a 25-point win over Ivy rival Harvard.
"Two words that come to my mind to describe her is poised and experienced," says Burr. "She is going to need those traits to carry her through the season because she is going to get double-teamed and players are going to be physical with her." Burr feels Robertson is well prepared to demonstrate the confidence the team will need.
Brown's third senior, Andrea Conrad (South Easton, MA), is ready and determined to make major contributions to the team after suffering through three injury-plagued seasons. After missing her entire freshman season, Conrad returned to the court as a sophomore, appearing in 22 games, but was still nagged by an injury. Conrad served as a co-captain that same year. Set for a healthy return in 2003-04, she was forced once again to sit out the year with an injury at the start of the season.
Adding additional depth to the frontcourt are sophomores Ashley King-Bischof (Pleasanton, CA) and Courtney Peters (Naperville, IL). King-Bischof, who can also play the guard position, earned a regular spot in the Bears' rotation off the bench, playing in all 27 games. She tallied season-highs of eight points and eight rebounds along with five steals during her rookie campaign. Peters, who saw action in 11 games, has great speed at the center position.
Returning for their third year of play are Julia Barton (Thornville, OH) and Adriana Bates (Tully, NY). The duo will compete for increased playing time this season after playing reserve roles the past two years.
The frontline will be further aided by the addition of three freshmen, who will provide much needed consistent outside shooting for the Bears. Standing 6'2", Stefanie Angstadt (Spring Lake, NJ) hails from Manasquan High School in New Jersey. "She has a nice outside shot and a great sense of the game. As time goes on we'll be looking for her to make the transition to the backcourt," says Burr.
Amy Hunckler (Aurora, IL), an adidas High School All-American, is a diverse player, who is known for her long-range shooting. Hunckler shot an astounding 44% from behind the arc her senior year, breaking Benet Academy's record for three's in a season and in a career. "She has a consistent, dead eye three point shot," says Burr.
Megan Loucks (Schenectady, NY) joins Brown as a walk-on this season. A graduate of Guilderland High School in up-state New York, Loucks was a three-year letterwinner in basketball and played AAU ball for six years. "I have been extremely impressed with her in the pre-season. She is exceptionally athletic and is a great competitor," says Burr