Sept. 13, 2001
Nine letterwinners and four starters return to Head Coach Jean Burr's Brown basketball squad, as Brown looks to regain the championship form of the mid-90s with an experienced, deep and talented roster.
"Our experience will certainly be tested this season," said Head Coach Jean Burr. "The question for us will be who steps up and carries the load statistically, since we expect to have a balanced offense. We need to be able to balance our attack and push our team defense to the next level."
Rada Pavichevich begins her second year as captain following a stellar 2000-01 season that saw her named Second Team All-Ivy. Pavichevich played in all 27 of Brown's games, starting 26, and averaging 10 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. She was named the Ivy League Player of the Week for her effort in Brown's win at Yale, when she hit her first five shots en route to a 17-point night, while dishing out seven assists. Her shooting percentage of .359 from three-point range ranked in the top five in the Ivy League.
"Rada sets our tempo, and she has the ability to step up our entire game with her presence on the court," Burr said.
Erin-Kate Barton, who started 21 games a year ago, brings an indelible work ethic and a strong court presence back for her senior season, during which she will also serve as a team captain. Last year, Barton averaged 6.1 points per game and 5.3 rebounds per game, lighting it up and earning Ivy League Honor Roll distinction following her performance in Brown's split at home with Princeton and Penn. Seven times last year she led Brown in rebounding, with a season-high of 11 in the finale against Princeton.
The Bears lose their leading rebounder from last season in center, Rachael MacDonald, who will take the year off to concentrate on missionary work. Along with Barton, the inside game will be controlled by a pair of returning sophomores, Nyema Mitchell and Miranda Craigwell, both of whom had outstanding rookie campaigns. Mitchell, the Ivy League's leading shot-blocker a year ago, was named to the All-Rookie team, finishing the year with 6.1 ppg and 5.9 rpg, while coming off the bench in 22 of Brown's 27 games, earning five starts. She was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week after her performances against Sacred Heart and Harvard, when she finished with 19 points and 7 boards against the Pioneers, then hit two free throws with 6 seconds left to give Brown a 59-57 win over the Crimson. Mitchell picked up a pair of double-doubles last year as well.
Craigwell was Brown's top shooter from the field last season, finishing at an even 50% clip, including a dominating 6-for-7, 19-point performance in the finale against Princeton. She also averaged 2.5 boards per game.
"With Nyema and Miranda, we have a solid inside presence," Burr said. "We need to control the boards and have a consistent inside game."
Junior Heidi Egelhoff returns to a post role as well. Egelhoff played in 10 games last year battling injuries the first half of the season. She has the game experience and talent to log minutes in the 2001-02 season.
Brown's backcourt could be among the quickest and deepest in the Ivy League, with four players returning who averaged better than 15 minutes of playing time per game, not including Pavichevich, who rotates from the two-guard to the small forward spot in the lineup.
At the point will be sophomore Tara Williams, who stepped into the starting role as a freshman with exceptional poise and talent. She dished out 68 assists last year while learning the Brown offense, reaching double figures in points on three separate occasions. Williams backboned the Bears' second-half comeback, hitting a pair of threes and collecting five assists, as she finished with 13 points.
One of the quickest players on the squad, junior Ragan Kenner played in 20 games last year, starting seven. She scored a team-high 15 at Columbia, and scored 12 in Brown's 68-35 win over Princeton on 6-of-7 shooting.
Also vying for time will be two sophomores, Stephanie Bruce and Tanara Golston. Bruce had the second-best shooting performance in Brown history against Stony Brook, when she went 7-for-7 from the floor and scored a team-high 16 points. Golston, who can play either guard spot, was third on the team in assists with 37, while picking up 2.7 points per game. Bruce and Golston are two of only five Bears to play in all 27 games last year.
"I see us as balanced on offense," Burr said. "We have to be patient in our execution in order to be successful."
Losing only two players to graduation, the Bears bring two new faces to the roster in forward Andrea Conrad from Oliver Ames High School in Easton, Massachusetts and center Holly Robertson, from Cochrane, Alberta. Conrad is a sharp-shooter who will push the Bears' veteran forward line, while Robertson, at 6-foot-5, gives Brown another strong presence in the post.