2003-04 Season Preview
In head coach Tracey Fisk’s five previous seasons at the helm, the Ferris State women’s basketball program has been blessed with talented senior players such as Tianna Kirkland (2000-01), Debbie Killips (2001-02) and Carrie Roys (1999-00).
Kirkland, who was named the 2000-01 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Player of the Year, became the first player in FSU history to earn All-America honors. Both Killips and Roys garnered first-team all-league kudos as seniors.
The situation shouldn’t change much this season, either, as Fisk welcomes back an experienced and veteran squad led by the senior quartet of Lucy DeMartin, Bridget Horwitz, Stephanie Benear and Molly Potvin.
The foursome guided FSU to its seventh-straight 10-win campaign and fourth consecutive GLIAC Tournament berth a season ago as the Bulldogs compiled a 15-11 mark and placed fourth in the GLIAC’s North Division with a 10-8 ledger. They lead a list of eight returning letterwinners who are back for the 2003-04 season, including starters at all five positions.
“Our team knows what it takes to be the best and now it’s a matter of preparing to play for 40 minutes every night out,” Fisk said. “We have great senior leadership and several players returning with solid experience, which should help us at key times.”
Highlighting the list is DeMartin, a 5-9 guard who put together the most productive season in school history last year as her team-leading scoring average (20.2 ppg) ranked first among the program’s all-time leaders and placed second in the GLIAC’s overall statistical rankings. The first-team 2002-03 All-GLIAC North Division and Daktronics Division II All-Great Lakes region honoree posted 26 double-figure scoring outings and 13 20-plus point performances as a junior.
Fisk, who currently ranks as the school’s all-time winningest coach with an 85-51 (.625) career mark, expects the fourth-year starter to continue her ascent towards the top of the school’s career scoring list this campaign.
Horwitz, too, is within striking distance of the becoming the school’s all-time leading scorer as both players eclipsed the 1,000 career points mark late last season. The 6-2 Horwitz totaled 420 points (16.8 ppg) and a team-leading 210 rebounds (.8.4 rpg) in 25 appearances last year while garnering both second-team all-conference and all-region accolades. The two-time GLIAC All-Academic Team honoree scored 10 points or more in 22 games and notched nine double-double (points and rebounds) performances en route to establishing herself as one of the league’s top interior threats for the third consecutive season.
Although the 5-9 Benear averaged only 4.6 points and 3.0 rebounds per contest in her third season as a forward, she solidified her role as one of the team’s top defensive stoppers. The 2002-03 team Defensive Most Valuable Player Award recipient started 25 games last season and was Ferris’ field goal percentage leader (.529).
The 5-10 Potvin returned from a knee injury which forced her to miss all of the 2001-02 campaign and tallied personal career-bests in points (153), rebounds (123) and assists (32). Her continued development is expected to help take the pressure off of Horwitz inside and allow her to contribute again on a regular basis.
Following in the footsteps of the senior quartet are four other returning letterwinners who all received significant playing time for Ferris State a year ago, including 2002-03 GLIAC Freshman of the Year Erin Miller.
Miller, a 5-7 sophomore guard, ranked as the squad’s third-leading scorer (12.5 ppg) and recorded 17 double-figure scoring efforts. She totaled 10 points or more in eight of her final 11 outings and started all 26 contests at the point guard slot in her initial campaign. Miller, who registered the program’s 11th-best single-season steals mark (57), also received the team’s Rookie of the Year Award.
Two-year regular Sarah Duesing returns for her junior season in the frontcourt. The 5-10 Duesing cracked the starting lineup on 15 occasions last year and attained GLIAC All-Academic Team recognition. She also compiled personal career-highs in both points (82) and rebounds (65).
Ferris State’s inside game was bolstered by the addition of frontcourt players Darcie Philp and Kelly McLaughlin in 2002-03. The rookie duo combined to play 18 minutes a game, which allowed Fisk to rest Horwitz at opportune times. Philp garnered team Most Improved Player Award accolades as a result of scoring 78 points and grabbing 50 rebounds in 25 outings while McLaughlin saw action in 22 contests.
Despite the nucleus returning, Fisk also expects a talented incoming class to contribute immediately.
Junior college transfer Lucie Cenkova helped lead Illinois Central to the 2002-03 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II National Championship in her second collegiate campaign. The 5-10 native of the Czech Republic is a solid wing player with the tools to be a productive player for the Bulldogs.
One of Fisk’s most promising additions is 5-5 guard Kristin Reinhart, who attained first-team 2002 Class A All-State recognition from the Associated Press, Detroit News, Detroit Free Press and the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan. She averaged 18 points, four rebounds and two assists per game while leading East Lansing High School to a 20-3 overall record as a senior during the 2002 campaign.
Freshman forward Audrey Thwing was selected among the Detroit News’ Top 100 players last season after averaging 19.6 points and 11 rebounds per contest for Davison High School. Her 5-11 frame and competitive nature will further bolster a deep Bulldog frontcourt.
Hailey Potter, a 2002 Detroit Free Press Class B Honorable Mention All-State selection, is also expected to be a solid contributor in the Bulldog program following an outstanding prep career. She tallied 11 points, 3.0 steals and 2.6 rebounds per game at Ida High School in 2002.
The list of newcomers also includes junior guard Sharon Smith, who is no stranger to Ferris State. Smith, an Oak Park High School product, has been a member of the FSU women’s track and field program for two seasons. Her quickness and athletic ability could be an invaluable asset in a relief role.
Even though the Bulldogs welcome back nearly 90 percent of their scoring and 78 percent of their rebounding production from a year ago, a challenging schedule won’t make it easy for Ferris in its quest to win the GLIAC Championship and return to the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Regional Tournament for the first time since the 1999-00 campaign.
Ferris, which doesn't play in its own facility until the new year, must play 12 of its first 13 games on the road. Included in the stretch is a holiday trip to Arkansas and three league contests.
“Our schedule is tough, but we expect to be near the top of the league at the end of the year,” Fisk said. “Every team wants to win the GLIAC, but it remains to be seen what everyone will do set themselves apart. Hopefully, we can do that with hard work, discipline and consistency.”