By Kirk Jessome
In a very competitive AUS conference it was a tough season for the young roster of the women’s basketball team who found themselves on the outside of the playoffs looking in, but it was still a year of improvement. Finishing with a record of 5-15, the Tigers improved on their record from the previous season thanks to further development of a very young roster.
The season opened well with back-to-back hard-fought wins against StFX in their first two games but took a slide after that. After dropping their next five games before the break, the Tigers needed to regroup for the second half.
They did that by taking three-straight victories and a win in the Dyrick McDermott exhibition tournament before the long stretch of games in January began.
Despite the improved 3-4 record in January for a 5-9 record overall, it wasn’t enough to put them in playoff contention in a very strong conference.
“Michele has made great improvements over last season with her decision-making and athleticism,” says Stammberger. “Ariel has had a difficult job at a young age, but we are hoping the opportunity to get extra minutes this year will show in her development.”
The biggest shortcoming for the team this season was the lack of interior presence on both sides of the floor. Second-year Robertha Charles led the team in both scoring with 11.3 points per game and on the glass with 7.6 rebounds per game, but the second highest rebounder on the roster was their point guard in Tchiakoua.
Injuries were an issue with Claire Hickman kept out of multiple games this season, another reason for the troubles on the inside. Hickman showed great toughness throughout the season to come back from injury multiple times and bring a presence on the glass and at the rim.
Stammberger credits the strength of the conference for helping the young group grow, and says that they are on the right path to where they need to be.
“Teams like Acadia and Cape Breton have been so good, it forces our players to develop quickly. But because the conference is so good, sometimes it’s hard to see the development and improvement in our group. We’re not far off, even though our results didn’t quite show it.”
With their entire roster eligible to return next season, the Tigers believe that the continuity of the group, combined with strength and conditioning work in the offseason will push them into a playoff position and help them challenge the top teams in the conference.