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Falcon women look to regular season play

November 13, 2008

Under the direction of ninth-year head coach Cindy Hovet, the women’s basketball team is getting ready to tip off the 2008-09 season with many new faces.

If the Falcons are going to improve on their 8-18 overall record and eighth place finish in the WIAC last season, they are going to need to find production from a team comprised largely of freshman and sophomore players.

Senior guards Tessa Rohl and Jenna Hanson, along with juniors Kelli Hilt and Katie Theisen, are the only upper classmen on the roster. Hilt and Hanson are also the top statistical returners in several offense categories.

Combined, the duo averaged more than 13 points and seven rebounds per game and dished out 107 assists last season.

According to Hovet, this should help ease the blow of losing last year’s top three scorers in Caitlin Hunstock, Krystal Parr and Sarah Schoeneck. 

Shoeneck and Hunstock also combined to grab more than 10 rebounds per game which led last year’s squad.

“I am expecting a lot from our team this year. We are young, spunky and competitive. We’ll see tremendous improvement throughout the season as we learn and gain confidence on the court,” Hovet said.

Stability in the coaching ranks should also benefit this year’s young team.

Kathy Holbrook returns for her sixth season with the Falcons and Mike Babler will begin his second year as an assistant to the program.

According to Hovet, each coach provides special insight to help players become better on and off the court.

“Kathy is an excellent teacher of the details of the game, and is especially strong working on individual player development,” Hovet sad. “She keeps kids motivated and always looks for encouraging things to say. Mike loves coaching defense and will make us tougher on that end of the floor. His enthusiasm and ability to break down film for scouting is also a real strength.”

Defending league co-champion, UW-Whitewater, is the preseason favorite to win the WIAC according to the conference’s sports information directors. The Warhawks are currently the top ranked Div. III team in the nation. UW-Eau Claire shared last year’s conference title and is currently ranked in the top 25 in preseason polls as well.

According to Hovet, the Falcons are used to seeing strong competition in the WIAC.

“We play in arguably the toughest conference in the country, but our players are motivated and committed to each other and what we’re trying to accomplish. Right now I expect we’ll give our best every day, we’ll learn more about the game and each other every day, and we’ll come prepared and ready to battle every time the lights are on. Our win-loss record will take care of itself,” Hovet said.

Senior Jenna Hanson says the team is eager to get the season underway.

“We’re working hard and trying to get comfortable playing together. I think you’ll see that pay off once we get on the court,” she said.

The Falcons will tip off the 2008-09 season at Northwestern College in St. Paul on Nov. 18, and will play seven non-conference games before beginning the WIAC schedule with a home game against UW-Oshkosh on Dec. 6.