December 9, 2021


Only The Finest Women

SU women’s basketball boasts a bevy of experienced players | Nvdaily

WINCHESTER — In January, the Shenandoah women’s basketball team was making ready for a condensed 2021 time with a whole lot of uncertainty bordering it for the reason that of COVID-19, the reduction of 4 program backbones to graduation, and the addition of 8 freshmen.

It is risk-free to say the Hornets like their scenario heading into the 2021-22 season very a bit much more.   

SU returns all 14 gamers from previous year’s group and has added 4 freshmen as it appears to be like to get back again to the accomplishment it experienced prior to COVID-19. Right after likely 32-24 about the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons, the Hornets went 4-7 (3-5 Previous Dominion Athletic Meeting) very last time.

SU — which has 25 online games on the 2021-22 schedule — opens this Saturday with Goucher at 6 p.m. at the Wilkins Center. SU’s first Previous Dominion Athletic Conference game will also be at home, on Nov. 17 in opposition to Randolph-Macon. 

SU eighth-12 months head coach Melissa Smeltzer-Kraft factors out these 14 returners include 6 seniors (one particular is mentioned as a grad student) who accounted for 76.7 p.c of the team’s minutes previous year.

“That is outrageous,” Smeltzer-Kraft said. “We have this large edge of knowledge and the reward of obtaining 11 games. We have a scrimmage against a crew that didn’t perform very last year. Our very first game is in opposition to a group that didn’t attend in-individual faculty final 12 months.”

Smeltzer-Kraft mentioned that working experience ought to enable in the ODAC. Of the 12 remaining ODAC teams from the 2020-21 university calendar year (Emory & Henry is now in Division II) only 10 of them truly competed final wintertime. The Hornets were being one particular of only five teams that performed double-digit video games. 3 teams only played 4 or five online games.  

With so a lot of returners, senior ahead Olivia Weinel stated the Hornets have absolutely grown closer as a staff than they were in 2020-21, when COVID restricted how substantially time they could devote collectively. The other eight customers of final year’s squad were all freshmen who now have a superior idea of what to expect at the university level and in just the ODAC.

“It is truly enjoyable to have all of us back together,” Weinel explained. “I assume the COVID year really helped us create a whole lot of chemistry. We had a lot of additional time to function on expertise and progress with every single other. I’m genuinely psyched to get back out on the courtroom with all of them.

“I just believe the experience that we are heading to provide will a true energy for our crew coming into this season. The underclassmen have some practical experience now, so it is not going to be a large shock when they appear into ODAC enjoy.”

Defense need to keep on to be a toughness for SU. The Hornets ranked fourth out of 11 teams in scoring protection (61.8 details per match), first in subject objective share protection (.352) and fourth in 3-stage share defense (.288) previous time. SU also rated 3rd in rebounding margin previous 12 months (5.4).

SU’s offense manufactured some strides last calendar year. The Hornets averaged 62.7 points for every game (up from 58.1 in 2019-20) and carry back again 4 players who averaged double-digits in scoring as properly as averaged at least five rebounds for every match. 

Senior ahead Sarah Sondrol (14.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, .382 percentage on 13 of 34 3-tips) and senior guard Sierra St. Cyr (10.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 2.3 steals) just about every built the All-ODAC workforce final yr. SU also delivers back again senior forwards Weinel (12.9 points, 6.2 rebounds) and Ragan Johnson (10.9 factors, 6.7 rebounds).

“Elevated scoring is normally the aim whilst preserving that steady defense that we’ve founded the last handful of decades,” Smeltzer-Kraft mentioned. “In conditions of children who are capable of going off and scoring, I believe we have that now a lot more than we have experienced in my entire time in this article.”

SU was on the lookout to enhance the tempo of its play last 12 months. Whilst that didn’t genuinely take place, the Hornets were successful, ranking third in field target proportion (.423) and fourth in 3-stage percentage (.310). 

“Ending possessions with good photographs is this sort of a higher priority for us,” Smeltzer-Kraft stated. 

Out of the prime 7 players in minutes for every sport, sophomore guard Madisen Kimble (6.1 factors, 3.5 rebounds, 10 of 31 3-pointers in excess of 24.5 mpg) was the only freshman to rank amongst SU’s leading seven. (Graduate college student Brooke Riley started off 7 video games and senior guard Diana Mundle averaged 15.8 mpg to also rank in SU’s leading 7.)  Kimble was a single of two only freshmen to perform a lot more than 7 game titles. 

Smeltzer-Kraft mentioned the underclassmen will unquestionably enjoy a even bigger role this 12 months. Irrespective of how a great deal she played, Smeltzer-Kraft reported Kimble didn’t get to display her total prospective final calendar year after rolling her ankle.

“I feel Kayla Maxson is emerging as a player who we are going to see much more continuously, and I imagine the freshmen that we recruited are heading to get minutes,” Smeltzer-Kraft stated. 

Smeltzer-Kraft reported the senior course will absolutely guide the way, even though.

“I consider their urgency is really higher, which is truly wonderful,” Smeltzer-Kraft explained. “They know it truly is last get in touch with in this article. We have got a really special team, and everyone would seem prepared to go. Past year we only received 4 video games, but we had a great deal of closes losses that I feel will not be in vain. We are all set to use that as lessons learned.”