After the most successful run in program history for Caltech women's basketball, the obvious question what is next in the 2010-2011 season?
The Beavers are coming off a school record seven wins and a string of other great accomplishments. Along with the most wins, last season was the program's highest finish in SCIAC play, with a new all time leading rebounder inking the record books, more new names added to the record books than any previous season, and finishing up with a record three players posting stats in the nation's top 50. How does a Caltech team top that?
The 2010-2011 Beavers are the answer. They are already determined to leave their mark on the legacy of the program, and the answer to that question is to simply bring more. And more is the theme for the Beavers as the new season sits on the horizon, anxious and ready to start. Caltech has remedied its most frequent obstacle - depth. This year, not only do the Beaver bring back five players with starting experience, but they will dress twelve and field the most experience roster the program has ever had. The Beavers will dress multiple players at each position which is luxury never before afforded. Caltech will be able to put the bench to work in a big way.
Two games into last season, point guard Lisha Li was sidelined with a fractured foot. Li is fully recovered and ready to take charge of the court during her senior year and run Caltech's offense. Known for her ability to get inside the defense, Li is a slasher extraordinaire and will beat more than a few defenders off the dribble. Li's ability to get inside will free up junior Erin Hoops (10.8 ppg, 3.3 apg) to launch from the outside. Hoops, Caltech's leading scorer last season, did a fantastic job of handling the ball but drastically reducing her looks for the three. Now, Li and Hoops can share the responsibility without compromising the long game.
Another significant contributor returning for the Beavers is junior Krissy Dahl (10.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg). Dahl has been a force in the paint since her first game in orange and white and was Caltech's second leading scorer. Dahl's specialty is the blocked shot, finishing 26th in the nation for swats per game with 66. Dahl has broken the school's single season blocked shot record two years in a row, and will try to accomplish the task for the third consecutive season.
Returning starters from a year ago include Teri Juarez (9.8 ppg, 8.4 rpg) and Sarah Wright (6.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg). Juarez brings excitement to the floor every game, as her nose for the ball and flat out intense play was a game changer for the Beavers on numerous occasions. A fierce competitor, Juarez simple does not understand how to do anything other than succeed, and the proof is on the glass. The 5-6 Juarez posted five double doubles last season and is poised to tally more double digit efforts during the upcoming campaign.
Wright grew up fast during her freshman campaign when she found herself in the starting line up every night after the injury to Li. What seemed like a tough draw a year ago is a silver lining now. Wright got the game experience she'll need to further Caltech's pursuits. A contributor to the men's soccer team, her first love of football and playing against the men, has only bolstered Wright's speed. Look for her to kick into another gear for the fast break this winter. As the final Beaver back for another year, senior Hoi Yee Nam looks to make this her finest hour yet. Nam came off the bench a year ago and looks to be a solid contributor this year, bringing her experience to the benefit of the younger Beavers.
The new additions to the roster are as significant as the returners are. The freshman class is lead by NorCal standout Paige Logan. Logan will compliment Dahl's experience and power in the paint. Averaging a double-double in high school (14.0 ppg, 18.0 rpg); Logan is going to see significant opportunities to shine during her first season in a Beaver uniform. An all-league selection in high school, Logan will be vital to Caltech progress.
The inside game only prospers with the outside game working, and a pair of first-year player has added to the perimeter as well. Freshman Marlyn Moore will compliment Hoops on the outside, with her shooting touch from beyond the arc. The duo of Moore and Hoops will draw the opposition to them throughout the game which will open up scoring in the low post. Another first year player joining Moore will be guard Rachel Hess. Hess helps round out Li's slashing abilities, and has a great nose for the ball when it counts. Watch for Hess to get herself in the right spot for the shot. The combination of Hess and Li will give the Beavers a pair of slashing guards who aren't afraid to venture in the low blocks.
Susan Ballentine rounds out the incoming recruiting class. Ballantine helps bring even more to the guard position and will be looked to for her contribution to the bucket brigade. As an all around utility player, Ballentine will be discovering her role and adjusting to the collegiate game all at once. Look for her to help the guard force be even stronger. Coming to the lineup as a walk on, Tiffany Huang will look to find her role as well. Although Huang is the shortest Beaver on the roster her speed will give Caltech a chance to look long and have a peek at the transition baskets.
Reinforcements were the call and help did indeed arrive. With an experienced group merging with young and talented, Braun Athletic Center should be the place where great things happen from November to March.