As the Washington and Lee women’s basketball team is
looking forward to their 2009-10 campaign, they wouldn’t mind
looking back just a little and riding the momentum of success from
the second-half of last season. The Generals notched a 12-6 record
over their final 18 games en route to a 14-12 season, establishing
a school record for most conference victories in a season (13-6)
and earning the best conference tournament seeding in program
Despite losing four players to graduation, the Generals boast a promising group of returnees and a strong incoming class that will look to duplicate the late-season success of last year.
“I’m really thrilled about the possibilities with this team,” stated seventh-year head coach Mandy King. “I’m excited about how the team is put together and what we will be able to do on the court.”
Headlining the returnees for King are sophomores Meg Ingram and Becca Bolton, along with junior Felice Herman.
Ingram, a 5-foot-6 guard, returns to the court after an impressive debut campaign that saw her garner ODAC and D3hoops.com South Region Rookie of the Year honors, as well as Second Team All-ODAC laurels.
“Ingram deserves every recognition she received last season,” remarked King. “She works hard and does whatever is necessary to improve her game.”
Ingram led W&L in scoring with 15.5 points per game and established a new school-record with 75 three-pointers made. Not just a scoring threat, she also led the Generals with 3.4 assists per game and chipped in 3.3 rebounds per night.
A tremendous outside threat, Ingram led the ODAC and ranked 14th in the nation in three-point field goals per game and her 31 points scored against Newport News Apprentice ranked 11th-best in Division III. And now that opposing teams know her talent, she may receive more attention on the court, but it is a challenge King believes she is ready to take-on.
“It may be a challenge for her [Ingram] facing more defensive attention and some of the best defenders on other teams, but it’s a task that I believe she’s ready for,” stated King.
A 5-foot-9 guard/forward, Bolton was an Honorable Mention All-ODAC honoree during her initial season. A versatile asset due to her inside/out abilities, she finished her rookie campaign with a team-best 7.7 rebounds per game while recording a second-best 12.1 points per game. She also finished the season with eight double-doubles and tied a school record for assists in a game, dishing out 11 helpers against Eastern Mennonite.
“Becca is a complete player, and represents a challenge for opposing teams to guard her because she never stops moving,” remarked King. “She has worked on expanding her range in the off-season, and is really going to redefine the small forward position for us.”
Another steady presence the Generals will turn to this season is junior center Felice Herman (6-foot-2), who started every contest for the Generals while shooting an ODAC-best 55.7 percent (122-219) from the floor.
“Felice is one of the strongest post players in the ODAC because she brings soft hands and a nice touch under the basket,” said King. “She had a strong rebound presence on the boards last season and we’re looking for her to have even more of a presence this year.”
Herman averaged 10.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game last season, but was hindered by foul trouble at times and averaged just 22.1 minutes per game. Keeping her on the floor will be a top priority for King this winter.
“Self-discipline is something Felice worked on during this offseason, and we hope she will take that and couple it with her experience from last season to stay on the court,” stated King.
Sophomore guard/forward Kari Ann Pfannenstein (5-foot-10) will also figure into the mix this season. She played in 25 games a year ago, averaging 5.3 points and 2.2 assists per game.
“Kari Ann was a strong sixth-man off the bench for us last season, really rising to that challenge and providing us great depth off the bench,” remarked King.
Her length and quickness proved to be a match-up problem for many opponents last season and she joined Ingram as W&L first-years to hit the 30-point plateau when she tossed in 30 points in a win over Hollins. Her 36.8 percent (28-76) shooting from beyond the arc was the best on the team, while her 28 three-pointers made trailed only Ingram.
Combined, the class of Bolton, Ingram and Pfannenstein accounted for 47.8 percent of the team’s offense and shot 40.1 percent (281-700) from the floor during their rookie season and another year of experience can only serve to improve their contributions. Their growth will be key to W&L’s continued success.
A young squad is always in need of leadership and the Generals will turn to captains Kaitlyn Kamp and Allie Long to lead the team.
“Our upperclassmen provide great leadership and dedication to the team,” said King. “They understand the necessity of sacrifice and what it takes to compete, and their work ethic reflects that.”
The lone senior, the 6-foot-0 Kamp played in 24 games averaged 2.6 points and 3.9 rebounds per game last season as a reserve post player. Long, a 5-foot-7 junior, is an outstanding on-the-ball defender and has proven to be reliable when running the offense. She finished her sophomore campaign averaging 2.8 points and 1.5 assists per game.
As with most teams, the Generals will seek contributions from several new faces, including sophomore Allison Sublett (5-foot-7) and first-years Megan Marks (5-foot-9), Caroline Vines (5-foot-8), Rachel Warrick (5-foot-9) and Katy Wilson (5-foot-9).
“We have a really strong incoming class, and they will rival the playing ability of the first-year class from last season,” remarked King.
Sublett joins the Generals after not playing during her first year at W&L. She will compete for a starting spot at point guard, while providing great energy and depth on the squad.
Four first-year players will also take to the court, bringing a wealth of size and talent to the team. Wilson will compete for a starting spot, bringing a strong three-point and rebounding game. Warrick has the versatility to play inside and outside, while also finishing every play with strength. Marks and Vines will bring an unmatched toughness and tremendous amounts of upside to grow into the team and position.
And while King is proud of the team’s success and potential after last season, she also takes pride in the team’s accomplishments off the court. Last season her squad ranked 14th in the nation among Division III schools with a 3.4 team grade-point average.
“We set a goal six seasons ago to finish as one of the top schools, and last season proved that we can reach our goals,” stated King. “It gives us a strong foundation to build on and develop the best student-athletes.”
The Generals take to the court for the first time on Nov. 17, hosting Mary Washington for a 7:00 pm contest.