On November 1 the Wesleyan women’s basketball team
officially began the 2007-08 campaign. Not that they hadn’t spent some time
together during the first two months of the semester. A pre-season optional
regimen of weight training, speed and agility drills, conditioning and pick-up
games has prepared the Cardinals for another challenging season of high
expectations and the leadership, commitment, and talent to achieve them. The
ultimate goals of the team are to contend for and win the conference
championship and participate in the NCAA tournament. The Cardinals have made
seven consecutive appearances in the New England Small College Athletic
Conference (NESCAC) tournament and have played in the NCAA tournament two of the
last three seasons, including a Sweet Sixteen berth in 2005.
As usual, Head Coach Kate Mullen’s squad will face one of the most challenging schedules in New England, the centerpiece of which is the very competitive NESCAC schedule. Composed of ten of the nation’s top colleges and universities, the NESCAC is also regarded as one of the most competitive D3 conferences in the country, annually placing multiple teams in the NCAA championships. In addition to the rigorous league schedule the Cardinals will also face some of the regions top teams including perennial NCAA participant Emmanuel College, long-time rival Springfield College, and Little Three rivals Amherst and Williams Colleges. The Little Three games are fiercely contested and the series is one of the nation’s oldest rivalries. The season begins with a tip-off tournament on November 16th at Brandeis University. The Judges are always one of the top teams in the region. In the first round Wesleyan faces Kenyon College of Ohio with its sights set on the championship game the following day. The 24-game schedule against some of the region’s top teams will prepare the team for both the regular conference season and the post season NESCAC tournament, the winner of which receives an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
The 2007-08 team features senior tri-captains Nikki Maletta, Stephanie Savas and Lucy Sprung. Maletta is a 5-4 guard who started every game last season and was the second leading scorer on the team. She handles the point guard duties but will also spend time at the two-guard spot. Nikki’s ability to knock down long threes as well as penetrate and finish make her a dual threat on the offensive end. Steph Savas is a tough and athletic 5-10 guard/forward who runs the floor, hits the boards, and can score both inside and out. A terrific defender and hard worker, Steph is a daily example of heart and desire. Lucy Sprung, a 5-11 forward, provides an inside presence with her strength and scoring ability. She uses her strength as a tenacious rebounder and despite her reputation as the queen of the weight room, Lucy has a soft touch from the three-point line.
The junior class features a mix of size, versatility and a competitive attitude as well as two players who started every game last season. Ali Fourney, a 6-0 guard, led the Cardinals in scoring and rebounding as well as steals and blocked shots last season and is a two-time NESCAC honoree. Ali can hit from long range, take it to the rim and finish, or knock down the pull-up jumper. Shannah Lively is a 6-1 presence who has impressed her teammates with her improved strength this fall. A terrific shooter who can step out to the arc, Shannah also has a nose for the offensive carom and figures to make her mark this season. Meredith Lowe is a 5-10 post player with great hops, toughness, and touch. A starter for all but two games last season, Mer will bring that experience to the floor along with her strength and competitiveness.
Two sophomores played in every game last year and each made important contributions in big spots. Emilie Knight is a 6-1 forward who has the ability to score in bunches with a soft touch and quick release. Emilie also emerged as a shot-blocker in her first season and will be a key figure in the Cards’ success this year. Kiah McAndrew-Davis, a 5-10 guard, checked in to her first college game last year and immediately knocked down a three pointer. As her reputation as a shooter got out she took advantage of her height and showed her versatility by driving hard to the hoop. Both of these sophomores will play important roles this year.
The class of 2011 comprises five first-year guards. Christine Baltrusitis is a 5-8 guard with scoring ability off the dribble or pass. Erin Gold is a 5-8 guard with impressive strength going to the hoop as well as three-point range. Sara Haile is 5-4 with terrific quickness. Allie Southam is 5-7 and can play either guard position with her combination of floor leadership and shooting ability. McKinley Tennant is 5-5 with quickness and both scoring and ball handling abilities.
With a legacy of success to draw on, the 2007-08 Wesleyan women’s basketball team is prepared for a challenging and exciting season filled with the promise of excellence and results. While their goals are significant they know what it takes to attain them. Commitment, hard work, and togetherness are the mainstays of Coach Mullen’s program, and these Cardinals are ready to build on that foundation for an exciting and successful season.