November 11, 2009

2009-10 Women's Basketball Season Preview

The Bloomsburg University women's basketball team will be playing in a new-look Nelson Field House for the 2009-10 season and will feature a roster with 11 new players. Head coach Bill Cleary leads the Huskies into the second year of a rebuilding plan he started when he arrived on the Bloomsburg campus last year. Cleary certainly knows the right steps to take in building a program, having led Wilmington University from two wins to 22 wins in just five seasons.

The challenge for the Huskies this year will be overcoming their overall lack of experience. Although each new player brings skill and tremendous potential, how they adjust to the physical and mental demands of a full college season will determine the Huskies' success this year.

The Huskies worked hard during the preseason and have improved their grasp of the team's offensive and defensive philosophies and look to make an impact in the conference.

Photo
Kelsey Gallagher

BACK COURT

The key to a successful season is the return of Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Eastern Division Freshman of the Year, Kelsey Gallagher. Not only did she lead the team in scoring her first year on campus, the 2009-10 preseason All-PSAC East selection also topped the Huskies in assists, steals and was second in rebounds. Even though Gallagher is just a sophomore, she is indispensable to the Huskies, showing high character and a tremendous work ethic. Not content with her game, the second team All-PSAC guard worked tirelessly in the offseason to improve in all areas and looks to raise her game for the Huskies this year.

Junior Steph Rankin brings the most backcourt experience to the Huskies, having played in 51 career games. She brings a positive energy and a great attitude and will do anything to help the team succeed.

Jen Dervarics comes to the Huskies as a graduate student after playing four years of Division I college soccer at Bucknell. The former Bison team captain and two-time Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year has tremendous speed and intelligence and her leadership skills will be invaluable to a young Huskies squad.

Alyssa Flanagan is one of four true freshmen vying for playing time in the Huskies back court. Look for this highly skilled floor general to do big things this season.

Kayla Oxenrider is a quick, athletic inside-outside player that will look to cause matchup problems and Tanejha Smith is an ultra-athletic guard who has loads of potential.

Dana Wieller has the ability to create shots for herself and her teammates with a quick first step and a great shooter's touch.

FRONT COURT

Photo
Steph Rankin
Bloomsburg's most seasoned player, senior Giselle Lara, has greatly improved over the offseason and her experience will be a factor in the Huskies front court this year. Lara, a great competitor, brings a nice jumper and good post presence.

Six freshmen will look for minutes in the Huskies front court, including Lauren Ellis and Jordan Pasik. Ellis is a versatile, inside-outside threat who will bring an aggressive edge to the Huskies defense. Pasik is another inside-outside player with very good shooting skills and sharp on the offensive end.

Lauren Biczelewski, Christine Sereta and Michelle Koren bring great physical strength to the Huskies. Biczelewski has the ability to develop into a solid post presence while Sereta's ferocity helps her block shots and grab rebounds. Koren is also an incredible rebounder and has a great nose for the ball.

Danielle Derr is another strong post player who has the athletic ability to play inside and outside. She understands the game and her strength inside will be an asset to the Huskies this year.

WRAP UP

After a three-win improvement last season, the Huskies will work on getting back to .500 this year. In order to do that, Cleary knows they must work on getting mentally and physically stronger. "Rebuilding takes time and everything should be done in steps, but if our team can come together and gain confidence early in the season, this group of players can take us to new heights," said Cleary. If the young Huskies can mature quickly, a run at the PSAC playoffs is possible.