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Women’s basketball team begins season hopeful

November 12, 2009

After finishing sixth in the WIAC last season, the Falcon women are looking forward to the 2009-10 season to make an impression in a competitive conference.

“We need to be the best team we can become throughout the season,” tenth-year head coach Cindy Holbrook said about the team’s goals for the upcoming season. “We have the potential to be very good, maybe top three in the WIAC.”

Holbrook is returning every member of last year’s squad. In addition, five freshmen are looking to make a mark at UWRF.

“[The freshmen] bring a lot of talent,” sophomore guard Tiffany Gregorich said. “They can all come in and help, depending how they adjust to everything.”

Gregorich also said the freshmen add quite a bit of height to the roster.

Brittany Gregorich is a 5’9” forward, hailing from Altoona, Wis. Nikki Guhr, 5’7” guard, joins the Falcons from Muskego, Wis., and Tracie Gillund is a 6’0” forward from Blaine, Minn. Lindsey Olson is a 6’0” forward from Plainview, Minn. Each player will add depth to the team.

Melissa Carmody is a 5’7” guard from Barneveld, Wis., and she said one of the biggest differences between high school ball and Division III basketball is the level of intensity on the court.

“I’ve had to work on getting a lot quicker on defense,” Carmody said, “and much more physical.”

Holbrook said she expects the freshmen group to make an impact in the women’s basketball program at UWRF.

“We have a very good freshmen class that will help our depth this year,” she said.

With all five starters returning as well as every member off the bench from the 2008-09 season, Tiffany Gregorich said she’s looking forward to a better season this year.

Gregorich, who averaged 12.3 points per game, was named to the 2008-09 All-Conference Team as an Honorable Mention as a freshman. She finished in the conference’s top ten lists in assists (2.50/game), field goal percentage (.485), three-point field goal percentage (.350), steals (2.42/game) and three-point field goals made per game (1.38).

“My goal for our team this year is to do better than last year,” the Altoona, Wis., native said. “We have everyone returning, so I would hope we do better and grow as a team.”

Gregorich said that during the off-season she, personally, worked on getting a quicker release on her shot.

Amongst the full list of returners are sophomore forwards Taylor House and Alise Holst. Holst placed in the conference’s top ten rebounders, averaging 7.2 per game; she also finished the season with 45 assists. House was part of the conference’s top five shot blockers with a total of 41 on the season, giving her an average of 1.58 per game.

Also returning are guards Katie Theisen, Tess Lardie, Lauren Pellowski, Jenna Hanson, Kelli Hilt and forward Maranda Dohrn. Lardie and Hanson averaged 6.0 and 7.1 points per game, respectively, for the Falcons last season. Pellowski averaged 2.4 rebounds and 3.3 points per game. Hilt was named to the 2008-09 All-Conference Sportsmanship Team, and Dohrn finished in the top-three for rebounds in the WIAC, with 200 on the season, an average of 7.7 per game.

The Falcons will have a total of 14 names on its roster for the 2009-10 season.

Tiffany said the team conducted its usual routine in the summer and fall.

“We had lifting and running three times a week,” she said. “We also had open gym four times a week. We all had to work on getting in good shape.”

Holbrook said it’s equally important for the players to work independently in the off-season as it is for them to work together as a team.

“Our players work individually to become better players during the off-season,” she said. “They lift and run and play as much as they can. That’s really the time the best players separate themselves by working hard independently while others might be slacking off. That’s how you pass people from season-to-season.”

Having told her players they could potentially see a top-three conference finish this year, the team seems to have its sights set high.

“I think it would be cool to be one of the top three teams in the conference,” Carmody said. Olson, too, said she hopes the team can finish in the top-three.

“We’re athletic, versatile and hardworking. I like our team a lot,” Holbrook said. “Everything depends on how driven our players will be to play to our strengths, trust the system and do the little things right on a daily basis.”

“Our goals are simple,” Pellowski said. “We want to do things right, play hard and be the best we can be.”

The Falcons open their season at home agaisnt Crown College at 7 p.m. on Nov. 17.