After an impressive 23–6 record last season and a trip to the Elite Eight, expectations are high for the 2016–2017 UR Women’s Basketball (URWB).

Speaking with Coach Jim Scheible, who enters his eighteenth season at UR, it’s clear there is a solid framework for a successful upcoming season.

“Every year is a new year and we have to earn everything we achieve,” he said. “However, I do believe that having gone to the Elite Eight last year, we will have confidence as a team that we know what it takes to be successful.”

Looking at the court itself, there are specific focus areas Scheible sees as imperative.

“I am looking for specific improvement in our defensive game,” he said.“We want to be able to extend our defense more full-court and apply more pressure.”

Senior guard Sarah Kaminsky echoed Scheible’s comments.

Our offense stems from our hard work on defense,” she said. “We are looking to apply a lot of ball pressure this year and play a faster-paced game.”

Replacing guard and 2016 graduate Kelsey Hurley’s defensive efforts will be no easy task, as she accumulated the second-most steals and third-most blocks on the team last season. Look for senior guard Brynn Lauer and junior guard Lauren Deming to lead the UR Women on the defensive side.

As for offense, junior Al Leslie remains the focal point. Coming off an All-American season where she averaged 15.5 ppg, Leslie will look to continue her tremendous play by getting to the free-throw line often and shooting at a high percentage from the floor.

Cutting down on turnovers and creating more good shots are Coach Scheible’s main focuses on offense.

Given the departure of guard Kayla Kibling ‘16, the team’s leading three-point shooter, Deming and Kaminsky will look to continue their hot shooting from distance, with each having shot better than 33 percent from downtown last season.

Though four senior contributors graduated last spring, Scheible sees opportunity.

“I do think our underclassmen/recruits will definitely have a chance to impact the team and the rotation on the floor,”  he said.

Current members of the team were on the same wavelength, noting the contributions of last year’s seniors.

“We will definitely miss the four players who graduated last year,” Kaminsky mused “That being said […] Our depth is one of our greatest strengths and we are really looking forward to this season.”

Look for the Class of 2018 to contribute heavily in the frontcourt this season for UR. In addition to Leslie, junior forwards Jillian Silvestri, Mary Kroenwetter, and Cassandra McCambridge all showed promise on the glass last season. Offensive rebounding, in particular, is a strong suit for all of these women.

Scheible agreed, but said he saw room for growth. “We were solid last year but in order to challenge for a national championship, we have to improve defensively and become a better rebounding team.”

After their successful campaign last year, the sky is the limit for the Yellowjackets this winter.


Tagged: URBB

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