The Hiram College women’s basketball team will sport a young team in 2012-13 with 10 freshmen on the roster. The Terriers will return 12 letterwinners from a year ago, but only two starters.
Last year, Hiram ended the season with a 9-17 overall record and 5-11 in the North Coast Athletic Conference. The Terriers did qualify for their fifth straight appearance in the conference tournament and will look to better their sixth-seed ranking in the NCAC postseason this year.
This winter, Hiram does not return an All-Conference player, but will return senior guardsCalysia Smyers (Akron/Coventry) and Chelsea Kovach (Lakewood). Of the returning players, Smyers and Kovach finished one-two in scoring with Smyers averaging 6.5 points per game while shooting 30.9 percent (54-of-175) from the field. She led the team in three-pointers made (34), was third in assists (33) and was also amongst the team leaders in rebounding at 3.4 rebounds per game. Kovach averaged 6.4 ppg. and was third in triples made with 30.
In addition to Smyers and Kovach, senior forward Brenna Host (Seven Hills/Normandy) will also return and provide senior leadership. A year ago, Host played in 23 games primarily as a backup forward. She averaged 2.0 ppg. on 16-of-88 shooting (18.2 percent) from the field. She averaged 2.1 rpg. and was third in blocked shots with seven.
The backcourt will be without graduated seniors and All-NCAC guards Tiffany Shields and Kelsey Durichko. Shields was the team’s leading scorer last season with a 12.8 ppg. average and the team’s leading rebounder at 5.7 rpg. Durichko was the team’s starting point guard and led the squad in 99 assists while scoring 6.3 ppg.
Smyers and Kovach provide the most experience for Hiram at the guard position, but will also be joined by returning players in sophomore Kelsey Koskinen (Madison) and junior Marisa Thomas (Lorain/Amherst). Both of whom saw significant playing time last season coming off the bench. Koskinen played in 25 games, including one start, and averaged 4.0 ppg. She was fourth on the team in three-pointers made (24) and averaged 2.4 rpg. Thomas played in all 26 games and started 10. She averaged 3.5 ppg. while shooting 33.0 percent (34-of-103) from the floor. In addition, Thomas averaged 2.4 rpg., had 22 assists and 12 steals.
Also providing depth at the guard position will be sophomore Larissa Davis (Cleveland Heights), junior Danielle Day (Newbury) and sophomores Jasmine Kellom (Black River) and Taylor Ratliff (Berea/Columbia).
Joining Host at the forward position, expect sophomore Samantha Morford (Jefferson) to see significant playing time. As a freshman, Morford played in 22 games and started six. She led all forwards in scoring at 4.5 ppg. and led the team in shooting with a 48.6 percent average (34-of-70). She averaged 2.0 rpg. to go along with six assists, seven steals and two blocked shots.
Also expect junior Alexis Kemper (Centerville) to alter between playing guard and forward this season. In 2011-12, Kemper saw playing time in 19 games coming off the bench and scored 24 points on nine-of-39 shooting (23.1 percent). She also added 23 rebounds to go along with five assist, seven steals and one blocked shot. In addition to Kemper, sophomore Bridgett Click (Newton Falls) could battle for playing time at the forward spot throughout the season.
The Terriers will open their 2012-13 schedule on Friday, Nov. 16 when they travel to Bluffton for the two-day Bluffton University Tournament. Hiram will play against the University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg (Pa.) in the season opener on Friday beginning at 8 p.m. Hiram will begin NCAC play on Dec. 1 against The College of Wooster in Wooster and won’t play their first home game until Wednesday, Dec. 5 against Oberlin College.