Nov. 7, 2005
Providence, RI - Coming off its 18-win season, expectations are high for the Brown women's basketball team in 2005-06. Over the last three seasons, the Bears have improved steadily, compiling 49 wins, the second most in any three-year period in the program's history. In order to continue its string of successful seasons, Head Coach Jean Marie Burr's team must overcome several obstacles, mainly the challenges it faces in the front court. With the departure of First Team All-Ivy center Holly Robertson and team co-captain Andrea Conrad, the team's make-up will be shaken up greatly this season. However, with the return of ten healthy letterwinners, including First Team All-Ivy selection Sarah Hayes, along with the addition of five talented newcomers, Brown will have a strong core of players, particularly in the backcourt.
"I think when you come off a successful season, there is always pressure to take that to another level," says Burr. "Filling the rebounding responsibility will be our biggest challenge. The scoring voids can be filled but we are going to need people to step up big under the basket and be consistent rebounders."
The duo of Hayes and senior Colleen Kelly will likely give the Bears one of the best backcourts in the Ivy League this season. Much of the scoring load will fall upon the two as Brown's young front court will need to gain more experience as the season goes on.
Hayes, an Academic All-American selection last season, will once again serve as the team's captain and will be a strong candidate for Ivy Player of the Year this season. Averaging 14.4 points per game, fourth in the League, and finishing among the nation's leaders in steals per game with a league-high 2.9 per contest, Hayes has proven to be one of the most versatile and explosive players in Burr's 17 year tenure at Brown. As a 5-9 point guard, she has been the Bear's second leading rebounder for the last two seasons and is on pace to finish within the top six of the school's all-time leading scorers list. "Sarah is at her best when the pressure is on and that is one of the reason's why she is such a great leader," says Burr.
One of the top three-point and free throw shooters in the program's history, Kelly will look to remain injury-free in her last season at Brown. Injuries have hampered her since her rookie campaign, in which she led the Ancient Eight in steals and averaged over ten points per game. Kelly's offense will be vital to the team as Hayes' is expected to face double teams throughout the year. Prior to her injury last season, she was averaging nearly 14 points per game, including a career-high 28-point performance at Army.
Senior Jackie Vocell is another long-range scoring threat the Bears can turn to. Having played in 76 games in her career, she also provides the young team with crucial veteran leadership. An explosive scorer, Vocell poured in a season-high 16 first half points off 6-7 shooting in the championship game of the Binghamton Time Warner Classic last season.
While junior Lena McAfee will continue to be one of the team's top defenders, Coach Burr will look to McAfee to pick up some of the scoring load this season. Stepping into a starting role last season, she ranked among the leaders in the Ivy League in steals.
Junior Katie Barr will be a key component at both ends of the court this season after seeing significant time last year, including nine starts in place of the injured Colleen Kelly in the middle of the season. That experience equaled out to more and more confidence through each passing game, leaving Barr in good contention for a starting role this season.
Sophomore Annesley O'Neal quickly proved she will be one of the top defenders in the Ivy League in the years to come. A huge spark off the bench, O'Neal earned playing time in all 27 games during her rookie campaign and tallied at least one steal in 20 of those games. Her aggressiveness at both ends of the court will be a huge asset as Coach Burr will look for O'Neal to find her touch on the offensive end this season.
Rounding out the backcourt will be newcomers Jaclyn Goldbarg, Alex Katich and Megan McCahill. Goldbarg's natural ability to score will aid the backcourt tremendously this season while Katich and McCahill's state championship experience helps give them the drive needed to play at the next level.
Goldbarg led San Diego County in scoring last season with over 28 points per game as she left Grossmont High School as its all-time leader in points and assists. Katich showed her knack for making big shots as only a freshman when she scored the game-winning basket in the state championship game for J.K. Mullen High School while McCahill was a part of three state championship teams at Thunder Ridge High School.
What the Bears frontcourt lacks in experience, it makes up for with talent and determination. Brown will need this young group to step up and be aggressive, particularly on the boards with the absence of Robertson and Conrad as well as junior Courtney Peters, who will miss the season with an ACL injury.
A breakout season could be in store for junior Ashley King-Bischof, who has shown great promise in her first two seasons with the team. Mainly used in the backcourt last season off the bench, she will move up front this year to help fill the rebounding void. A strong and versatile athlete, King-Bischof pulled down 4.4 boards per game last season, including an 11rebound effort in the championship game of the Time Warner Classic. Her offensive prowess was put on full display in a game against Harvard where she exploded for a career-high 24 points, including 15 in the final 11 minutes of the game.
Seniors Julia Barton and Adriana Bates will have golden opportunities in their final season with the team as they both will be expected to be strong contributors. Barton returns stronger then ever after missing all of last season with an ACL tear while Bates' vigorous work over the summer and in the preseason has prepared her tremendously. Sophomore Stefanie Angstadt, who has good range, will add additional depth up front.
The addition of 6'3" Catherine Schaper and 6'2" Amy Ehrhart will complete the Brown roster. Both have the potential to make an immediate impact as Schaper was one of the top scorers and rebounders in Texas and Ehrhart was one of the top rebounders in Colorado. Schaper holds Second Baptist High School's career scoring, rebounding and free throw percentage records, averaging over 23 points and 11 rebounds her senior year. Ehrhart also averaged nearly a double-double as a senior with over 11 points and nine rebounds per game.