Pirate Women's Basketball are Locked and Loaded for 2011-12 Season
GEORGETOWN, Texas - After a very successful return to the helm of the Southwestern Pirates, Coach Kerri Brinkoeter has high hopes for this young squad. Anchored by senior Anna Fareed and junior Katelyn Bartell, the Pirates are looking for a return to the SCAC Conference Tournament.
Fareed runs the show from the point position and is not only great at getting her teammates involved, but is a scoring threat from any spot on the floor, averaging 13.6 points per game last season. She played over 31 minutes per game and shot 41.8% from the field, 37.2% from three-point range. "Anna leads by example with her action on the court," says Coach Brinkoeter. "[With this being her fifth year] she is hitting a different point in her life and it is really important for her to finish strong and is doing this by mentoring the younger players."
Joining Fareed in the backcourt is seasoned veteran Katelyn Bartell. Bartell has been a starter since setting foot on campus and raises the bar for her teammates with her exceptional hustle play on both ends. She has embraced her role as not the main scoring threat, but will punish opponents if left unmarked. Bartell averaged 7.5 points per game last year, shooting 43.4% from the field and 33.3% from long distance. Most impressive was her 156 rebounds last season which was fourth most on the team, a true testament to her work ethic. "Katelyn is solid and steady. She doesn't make a lot of mistakes, she isn't flashy but is setting an example with her hustle and her work ethic," notes Coach Brinkoeter. "She sets the bar for our defense and that is really important for us."
Also returning from last year's starting line-up is SCAC Newcomer-of-the-Year and second leading scorer for Southwestern, Chelsea Leeder. Leeder averaged 13.7 points per game while shooting 39.2% from the floor, 32.4% from three point range. In her first year with the Pirates she averaged nearly 32 minutes per game and pulled down the second most rebounds on the team at around 6.5 per game while leading the team in steals with 65. Leeder will undoubtedly have a target on her back and be a focus of opposing teams' defense with her deep shooting capabilities. "Chelsea is the leader of this sophomore class and has become a vocal leader and coach for the rest of the team," shares Coach Brinkoeter. "She has an eye for basketball and sees things on the court that many coaches don't see. Coupling that with her ability, she is able to show her teammates how it should be done and how things fit into our system which has been fantastic for our squad."
"[Chelsea] isn't going to get open very easily," continues Brinkoeter "and she is going to have to be smart on the court, but the great thing about her is that she welcomes the challenge and loves to compete to be the best one on the court every night."
Brinkoeter's sophomore class was able to get a lot of great in-game experience last season that will certainly be an asset this year, aiding in the depth for Southwestern. "I expect them to contribute greatly to the squad. They are great kids that really care about the program and I am looking for those sophomores to contribute even more than they did last year," states Brinkoeter.
A plethora of new faces will don the Pirate black and gold this season as Coach Brinkoeter added ten first-years to the roster. "Right now they are young but they are coming along learning the college game and are very talented. At times this year we could see three for four first-years on the court at the same time. We will make mistakes but hopefully we will see a lot of good things from them."
With a deep team and one of the most athletic groups the Pirates have put together in recent years, Southwestern will be pushing opponents to their limits by running the floor offensively while keeping opposing teams from doing the same. "We have a lot of speed this year as well as inside and outside scoring threats. We have concentrated on improving our defense and are going to have to score some points in transition because we aren't quite where we need to be in our half-court sets."
The Pirates open the season on the road Tuesday against a seasoned Texas Lutheran team. TLU returns all five starters from last year's team and will provide the Pirates with a tough showing right off the bat. "TLU can pose some problems for us. With five starters back they could force us into some mistakes and do some things that we haven't seen in scrimmages."
SU remains on the road to face Schreiner on Saturday before coming home for the first time to take on Mary Hardin-Baylor who was third in the ASC in scoring defense last year, holding teams to 59.9 points per game. SCAC action opens for the Pirates in December with two road games (Colorado College and Hendrix) and two home contests (Austin College and Dallas).
"We are quick and talented but also young and aren't taking anything for granted this season. No game is a pushover and we will be as prepared as we can be when we walk into the gym."