Sports

Women’s basketball starts fresh

The women's basketball team intensely practices to get adjusted to their new lineup. The team only has three returning players, but lots of fresh new talent. (credit: Kristen Severson/Photo Editor) The women's basketball team intensely practices to get adjusted to their new lineup. The team only has three returning players, but lots of fresh new talent. (credit: Kristen Severson/Photo Editor)

“The young and the restless” seems to be the theme for the Carnegie Mellon women’s basketball team’s upcoming season.

Only three starters from last year’s squad returned, including last year’s University Athletic Association (UAA) Rookie of the Year Jacki Cortese. Coming off the bench, Cortese ended her season with 11.9 points per game, shooting at a 54.3 percentage. Also adding to this season’s scoring is fifth-year senior and captain Rachelle Roll, who averaged 7.6 points and 7.0 rebounds per game and finished with a team-leading total of 48 assists last year.

“Losing [the seniors] last year definitely took away a lot of the team’s experience,” said Roll. “However, the [first-years] bring a new outlook and the returning sophomores are great leaders.”

Sophomore guards Alex Hansen and Alison Aunkst are the other returning starters who will provide leadership on the court.

Also, sophomore forward Jennifer Larsen, guard Nicole Vaccarella, and junior guard Jessica Burvanovsky add to what little UAA experience the Tartans have, all whom saw substantial time on the court last year.

The new batch of first-years add much needed height to the roster: forwards Elissa Goldner and Emily Peel and guards Brit Phillips, Sarah Wiernicki, and Tori Baggio. Rounding out the first-year class is Rebecca Yazner. The newcomers are looking to prove themselves and to help turn around the UAA coach’s poll results — released Oct. 30 — that placed the Cardinal and Gray at the bottom of the league.

“I don’t believe in predicting the season. I don’t believe in preseason polls,” coach Gerri Seidl said. “If I could predict the future, I’d play the lottery. I believe that there is a good positive climate with in the [Carnegie Mellon’s] women’s basketball program. We are solid from managers to players to coaches to support staff and to administration. It doesn’t get much better than that. I believe in this team, and more importantly, they believe in themselves.”

Hansen expresses the team’s restlessness to change people’s minds: “We want to win. We definitely are looking to get some revenge and respect in conference.”

The Tartans’ season starts with a home opener against Bethany College on Monday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. The squad will continue their quest to prove the critics wrong with their first UAA game on Jan. 8 at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga.