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R-MWC will play up-tempo with four-guard offense

Wildcat Hoops in the News & Advance

11/16/2006 11:46:56 AM


By Chris Humphrey's
Lynchburg News & Advance
Wednesday, November 15, 2006

This is it for the Randolph-Macon Woman's College basketball team. Next season the school will have a new name as men are admitted in the fall of 2007.

"It hasn't had much of an effect on the team," R-MWC coach Melissa Wiggins said. "We had some players that were very vocal in their stance against co-education but things have really settled down the last couple of months."

The admission of men is a big change but the WildCats are facing a small change on the court this season.

R-MWC returns only three players - and two starters - from last season's team that finished 7-16, 6-14 in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. This season, the WildCats will run and gun with a four-guard lineup after steadily feeding graduated post players Meghan Stensrud and Jennifer Prewitt last season.

Stensrud led the team in scoring (18.0 ppg), assists (82), steals (37) and tied for the lead in blocks (23). She was second in rebounding (8.0 rpg). Prewitt led the team in rebounds (11.3 rpg), tied for first in blocks (23) and was third in scoring (12.9 ppg).

R-MWC has only one player on the roster over 5-foot-8. Freshman Emily Wade is listed as 5-10.

"We are giving up height for speed and athleticism," Wiggins said. "We are going to have to spread teams out and look to run."

Offensively, R-MWC will look to spread the scoring around but return last season's second-leading scorer, Sara Rechnitzer.

Rechnitzer, a noted 3-point shooter, averaged 14.4 point per game in 2005-06. The senior point guard made 39.7 percent of her 3-point attempts last season. Lianna Carrera, the Wildcats' other returning starter, averaged 7.1 points per game.

"Everyone will have to score for us," Wiggins said. "Everybody, even our post players, will look to shoot 3-pointers to take the pressure off Sara, since teams know how well she shoots the ball."

Defensively, R-MWC will look to force teams into quick shots and crash the boards as a unit.

"We'll be looking to speed the game up to keep from getting beat up inside on defense," Wiggins said. "With our lack of size, everyone is a post player and everyone is going to have to crash the boards."

One big difference for Wiggins is the size of the squad. This year she has 10 players and the team has been able scrimmage. The team only had eight players last season.

"It's a beautiful thing," Wiggins said. "We can finally scrimmage in practice without volunteers from the athletic department. It's going to be so nice being able to get people up off the bench if someone is in foul trouble and not have to constantly worry about injuries."

Wiggins' goal for the season is to guide R-MWC to a spot in the ODAC tournament. Only the top eight teams participate and the Wildcats were tenth in the preseason coaches' poll.

"We are going to be really young and the key is going to be how quickly we mesh," Wiggins said.

"Sometimes it takes awhile to mesh and we need to speed that process up."

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CONTACT: Brenda Edson, Director of College Relations