Alverno 2011-12 women's basketball preview
MILWAUKEE -- Less than a week remains until the first tipoff of the 2011-12 season for the Alverno College women's basketball team. The Inferno welcome back 10 returners and add three rookies to a team looking make it back to the Northern Athletics Conference Tournament after just missing out last season.
"It's nice having 10 returners," Alverno head coach Brad Duckworth said. "We're way ahead of the game. When we run a set or defense and look for expectations, it's there."
The Inferno (11-14, 8-10 NAC) lost two double-digit scorers from last season, including two-time all-conference selection Gabby Allen to graduation, but return four seniors with the experience and capability to lead the team to a successful season.
"You take a look at (Shataya) McComb and Allen, and you're talking about some players. If you lined up against us last year, you'd stop Allen and McComb, but this year's team isn't like that. There's going to be different players every night score for us. We're going to score differently, more evenly, but we'll make up for the loss of Allen and McComb."
Senior Alicia Kontowski (G/F, South Milwaukee, Wis.) was the team's first off the bench last season, but still put up 11.4 points per game -- second on the team only to Allen's 14.0 -- and led the team with 4.7 free-throw attempts per game and connected on 72 percent of them.
Seniors Alyssa Jensen (Cudahy, Wis., 7.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg) and Hannah Galstad (Holmen, Wis., 4.4 ppg, 42.6 FG%) and sophomore Jamie Hoernke (Mt. Horeb, Wis., 90.9 FT%, 2.5 rpg) combined to start a majority of the games in the forward spots, while junior guard Kayla Kennedy (Trempealeau, Wis./ Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau) is the only returner to have started in all 25 games last season and is touted as team's best defender.
Kristen Speerschneider (New Franken, Wis./Luxemburg-Casco) will take over Allen's reign at the point guard position in the lineup. The sophomore was the team's top 3-point threat last season as she connected for 29 with 32-percent accuracy, and had the Inferno's best assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.14.
Also returning or the Inferno are senior Amber Meka (G, Caledonia, Wis./Thomas More), juniors Marissa Christjohn ( G, Milwaukee, Wis./Thomas More) and Kaitlin Schaeren (C, New Berlin, Wis./West), and sophomore Anna Boteva (G, La Crosse, Wis./Central).
The incoming freshmen come from success as forward Amber Thomas was a member of Nicolet High School's 2011 Wisconsin state championship team and guard DeAndrea Jones was a member of Milwaukee King's 2009 Wisconsin state runner-up team. Additionally, Chelsey Vanderhill was a state qualifier for Waterford Union's track & field team.
Alverno opens the season Tuesday, Nov. 15, when it hosts crosstown rival Mt. Mary College at 7 p.m. in Reiman Gymnasium in a nonconference tilt.