With all the attention being given to the men’s basketball team, the women’s squad is looking to make some noise of its own. UR returns its entire team, besides UAA first-team guard Jen Labuda. The Yellowjackets have made tremendous strides in the past couple years improving from 6-19 in 1999, to 16-11 in 2000, to 18-9 last season. UR has won the ECAC championship the last two years.

UR is setting its sights higher this season. “We can look at ourselves as competing to get into the NCAA Division III tournament,” head coach Jim Scheible says. “We have quality depth. The team is filled with players, all of whom can get on the court and play.”

The Yellowjackets return their top six players in the frontcourt. Sophomores Megan Fish and Megan Damcott will handle the duties at center. At power forward, UR will rotate sophomore Kelly Wescott and junior Shannon Higgins. Junior Bekah Jones and senior Sara Sullivan will play small forward.

Despite the loss of Labuda, UR has several talented players in the backcourt. They include senior Anne Gottstein, juniors Erika Smith and Tara Carozza, and sophomore Hallie Fredricks. Smith led the club with 78 assists and 66 steals. She shot 44.4 percent from the floor and sank 28 threes.

UR’s main strengths are their depth and outside shooting. “There’s no one in our first 10 players who can’t shoot from 16 to 17 feet,” Scheible says, “and six of 10 can stick ‘threes’.”

The Yellowjackets guarded their homecourt like knights last season. They were 13-2, including a victory over 14th ranked Scranton College to win the Chuck Resler Tournament. This year’s Resler tournament opens with UR facing SUNY Cortland at 6 p.m. on Friday at the Palestra. Mount Union and Alma face off in the other contest at 3 p.m. The winners meet in the Championship on Saturday at 6 p.m., while the losers play at 3 p.m.

If UR wants to reach the NCAA tournament, they must improve on the road. The team was 5-7 and 1-6 in the UAA on the road last season. “We’re excited to see what we can do on the road this year,” Scheible said. “We’re older and make better decisions on both ends in terms of what we want to do and what we are trying to take away.”

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