The Hiram College women’s basketball team will return three starters and 12 letterwinners in 2013-14.
Last year, Hiram ended the season with a 9-17 overall record and 4-12 in the North Coast Athletic Conference. The Terriers did qualify for their sixth straight appearance in the conference tournament and will look to better their sixth-seed ranking in the NCAC postseason this year.
“While we were disappointed with our overall record last season, we had a few players get valuable experience that will pay dividends for use this year,” said seventh-year Head Coach Andrea Preston. “We were also able to close out the regular season with a home win against Denison on senior day in a ‘must win’ situation, which means a lot for our program. We have carried some of that momentum and excitement over to this season.”
This winter, Hiram will be led by a trio of seniors in Alexis Kemper (Centerville), Danielle Day(Newbury) and Marisa Thomas (Lorain/Amherst). Kemper will be the team’s top returning scorer who averaged 7.7 points per game last season while shooting 39.7 percent (73-of-184) from the field. She was also the team’s top three-point threat leading the team in triples made (45), attempts (113) and shooting percentage (39.8). Kemper was also amongst the team leaders in blocked shots with 12. Day was the team’s top rebounder with 163 boards (6.3 rpg.) and was second in steals with 34. Offensively, Day averaged 5.5 ppg. and shot 32.5 percent (51-of-157) from the floor. Thomas averaged 3.5 ppg. as a junior on 27.1 shooting from the floor (36-of-133) and was third on the team in rebounding with 83 boards. In addition, Thomas was fourth on the team in steals with 26.
“Our three seniors are all experienced players who will provide direction and leadership to our younger players,” said Preston. “Each has an opportunity to play a critical role for this team.”
Also expected to contribute more this winter will be juniors Kelsey Koskinen (Madison), Taylor Ratliff (Berea/Columbia) and sophomores Christy Griffin (Middlefield/Cardinal),Sierra Day (Salem) and Preshus Hawthorne (Lorain).
Koskinen, Ratliff and Hawthorne will provide depth at the guard position with Koskinen seeing the most playing time last season playing in all 26 games and started seven. She averaged 4.2 ppg. while shooting 33.6 percent (39-of-116) from the field. She was fourth on the team in three-pointers made with 16 and shot 26.2 percent (16-of-61) overall from behind the arc. In addition, she averaged 2.2 rpg. to go along with 20 assists, 22 steals and three blocked shots. Ratliff saw playing time in 15 games coming off the bench last season. She scored 24 points on nine-of-31 shooting (29.0 percent). She also grabbed five rebounds to go along with two assists and one steal. Hawthorne saw limited playing time in her first season as a Terrier and played in one varsity game. For the season, she recorded two rebounds and will look for increased playing time in 2013-14.
At the forward position, Griffin had a solid “rookie” season after playing in all 26 games and was tied for third on the team in scoring at 5.7 ppg. while shooting a team-best 41.8 percent (51-of-122) from the floor. She led the team in free-throws made with 47 and shot 65.3 percent overall (47-of-72) at the charity stripe. She was second on the team in both rebounding (4.6 rpg.) and blocked shots (17) and also added 20 assists and 21 steals. Sierra Day played in three varsity games as a freshman and ended the season with a rebound statistically.
“I am excited about the progress that Taylor and Kelsey have made over the off-season,” stated Preston. “They will be expected to contribute in much larger roles and I believe they are ready to do that. Christy has really improved as well, it will be exciting to see her continue to progress. The returning player that could make the biggest difference from last year to this year is Preshus. She will be looked upon to fill our point guard role and has done an exemplary job thus far.”
The Terriers will open the 2013-14 schedule on Friday-Saturday, Nov. 15-16 when they host the inaugural Victory Promotions Terrier Tip-Off Classic. Hiram will play against Hilbert (N.Y.) College in its first game on Friday at 8 p.m. at Price Gymnasium. Hiram will begin NCAC play on Dec. 4 against Allegheny (Pa.) College in Meadville, Pa. Tip-off for that game is scheduled for 6 p.m.
“Overall, I am looking forward to tipping off the season,” added Preston. “While we have a solid group of returning players, I am very excited about our freshmen. It’s a great group and a couple will be counted on immediately. Brianne Goodrich, Dana Perrotta and Jaclyn Fortner will have the chance to make big contributions this year and have shown some great progress and promise. This team is ready and looking forward to the season ahead.”