Hiram College

HIRAM, OHIO – Youth will be served this season at Hiram College.  Only three upperclassmen return to the Terrier Women’s Basketball Team for 2010-2011, giving many young players a chance to shine.

The Terriers are coming off of a 4-22 campaign last year and finished eighth in the conference last season, but made their third straight trip to the North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament.

While senior Jess Cowan (Hiram/ Crestwood) and juniors Kelsey Durichko (Brunswick) and Tiffany Shields (Bedford Heights/ Bedford) are the only returning upperclassmen, the Terriers will have 10 letterwinners back on the squad this year.

Cowan rotated last season between coming off of the bench and starting, averaging 5.9 points per game while shooting 33.8 percent from the field (49-of-145).  She was also among the team leaders in assists (29), three-pointers made (12), steals (14) and was third on the team in free-throws made (32-of-53).

“Jess will be counted on for leadership and scoring.”  said fourth-year Head Coach Andrea Preston.  “She has  a lot of experience and she’ll be able to use that to help the younger players.”

Durichko will return to the role of starting point guard, a role she has held since her freshman year.  Durichko led all Terriers in assists (73) and steals (33) and also managed 4.0 rebounds per game as well as 4.5 ppg.  Durichko started all but two of the 26 games she played last year.

“Kelsey is our floor general,” said Preston.  “She worked hard this offseason to become more of an offensive scoring threat.  She has been ranked amongst the conference leaders in assist to turnover ratio the past two seasons and I expect that she will be at the top again this season.”

Shields played in 25 games as a backup guard coming off the bench.  She averaged 4.0 ppg. on 27.0 percent shooting (32-of-159).  Shields ranked second on the team in blocked shots with 10 to go along with 12 assists and 12 steals.

“Tiffany has tremendous athleticism, said Preston.  “We will count on her to provide a lot of pressure on the defensive end as well as be a slasher on offense.  This could be a breakout year for Tiffany and I am excited to see what she will accomplish.”

While those three should see a large portion of the playing time, the rest of the minutes will be up for grabs among the talented young underclassmen on the Terriers this go-round.

Hiram will field nine sophomores this season led by Amy Geisman (Middleburg Heights/ Midpark) who spent last season alternating between guard and forward.  Geisman averaged just over twelve minutes a game and contributed last season with 3.4 ppg. and 2.9 rpg.  Geisman also posted an impressive 75.0 free-throw percentage (12-of-16) and shot 36.5 percent (31-of-85) from the floor.

Chelsea Kovach could very well be the Teriiers deep threat beyond the arc this season as Kovach went 16-of-54 from beyond the three-point line (29.6 percent) as a freshman.  Kovach started 13 of the 23 games she played and averaged 3.2 points per game.

Forwards Brenna Host (Seven Hills/ Normandy) and Amanda Petrusky (Parma/ Valley Forge) will provide the muscle under the basket this season for Hiram.  Petrusky played in 12 games last season off the bench and averaged 1.2 ppg. and 1.8 rpg. while Host played in just six games, pulling down four rebounds and tallying four points.

The remaining trio of sophomore guards, Emily Smerchansky (Girard), Calysia Smyers (Akron/Coventry) and Lindsay Buckner (Vienna/Mathews) should also make an impact this year.

“This is the class that really has a chance to make a big splash this season, “  said Preston. “Calysia (Smyers) and Emily (Smerchansky) both have an opportunity to start.”

Smerchansky played in only three games last season, going three-of-three from the free-throw line and recording a steal.  Buckner played in 13 games off the bench last season and was three-of-fifteen from the floor and also three-of-five from the line.  Smyers, averaged 1.1 ppg. and  was a presence from beyond the arc, going 3-of-11.

A bevy of talented freshmen join the Terriers squad for 2010-2011 and  all five freshmen are guards who should battle for playing time this season

Hiram will open the 2010-11 season with a game November 27, on the campus of Westminster (Pa.) College.  The home portion of the Terriers women’s basketball schedule will start play the next day (Nov. 28) when Hiram welcomes Penn State-Behrend to Price Gymnasium at 2 p.m.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, please contact Hiram College Sports Information Director Jeff Hoedt by phone at (330) 569-5495 or by email at hoedtjm@hiram.edu.