Defiance 2011-12 women's basketball preview
DEFIANCE, Ohio – Under the direction of interim head coach Craig McCord, the 2011-2012 version of the Defiance College women's basketball team enters the new season with hopes of rising up the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference standings, and making a run at the coveted conference title.
Defiance will take the court on Tuesday, November 15th against the Olivet College Comets. The Comets come to the Karl H. Weaner Center after being selected fifth in the preseason Michigan Intercollegiate Athletics Association poll.
The Yellow Jackets bring back a talented group of veterans that will provide the core of the team. Notable returners include senior Brooke Zachrich, junior Kim Comden and sophomore Erica King. All three players were tabbed as HCAC Players to Watch for the 2011-2012 season.
Zachrich returns for her final season at Defiance after earning Academic All-HCAC accolades in 2010-2011. The 5-7 senior started 25 games for the Lady Jackets and scored 5.8 points per game. She completed 44 field goals at a .404 clip from the floor and grabbed 89 rebounds, including 42 on the offensive glass. Zachrich also led the team with 56 free throws on 73 attempts.
Comden enters her third season, after posting career-best numbers as a sophomore. A 6-0 center, Comden was named Academic All-HCAC and Hampton Inn & Suites/Damon's Grill Tip-Off All-Tournament Team. She started all 26 games in 2010-2011 and averaged 17.6 minutes, 7.3 points and a team-best 5.3 rebounds per night.
King, the reigning HCAC Freshman of the Year, returns after leading the Yellow Jackets in scoring a season ago. A DIII News All-Freshmen Team selection, King posted 10.8 points per night during her rookie season. She averaged 3.9 boards per contest and shot at a .407 mark from the floor. King connected on 48 three-pointers and dished out 41 assists last season.
Also looking to make an impact this season are junior Rachel Ciminillo, junior Emma Starks and sophomore Hannah Harshman. Ciminillo returns after playing in 26 games during her sophomore campaign. The junior guard averaged 2.1 points per game, while shooting at a .380 mark. She also swiped 17 steals on defense. Starks played in 22 games in 2010-2011 and averaged 1.1 points per game. In 6.9 minutes of action per game, she pulled down an average of 2.0 boards. Harshman showed a lot of promise as a freshman, and will look to improve on her first season. In her first year, Harshman played in all 26 games, and averaged 5.8 points and 4.9 rebounds per night.
Sophomores Ashley Birchmeier and Maggie Neanen return with the opportunity for an increased role. Birchmeier averaged 2.1 points in 17 games while Neanen scored 1.8 points per game in 16 contests.
The addition of freshmen Jessie Arnold, Megan Fields and Megan Zachrich should also serve as a boost to Defiance.
The Comets return four letterwinners from their 2010-2011 squad. Junior Mellissa Bageris comes back with the most experience, after taking part in 45 games during her first two seasons. The addition of five transfers, all of whom are expected to contribute, will gives the Comets depth around the court. Transfer Sydney Raddle posted 14 points and 10 rebounds per game at Lake Michigan College last season, while SoQuitta DeShazor averaged 13 points and 8.9 boards for Lansing Community College.
Olivet claimed last season's meeting, 57-53, in Olivet on opening night. King led the Jackets with an 18 point outburst in her first collegiate game. Comden barely missed a double-double with eight points and 11 rebounds.
Opening tip-off is scheduled for a 7:30 pm start inside the Karl H. Weaner Center.