Nov 12, 2014
Last season, the Quakers finished 12-13 overall and 8-10 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC).
"This is a motivated group going into the season from each player to the coaches," Acting Head Coach Janel Iden said. "We fell short of making it into the conference tournament on a tie-breaker last season and that's stuck with us."
"Then on top of losing the tie-breaker as motivation, we have a even greater motivation to honor Coach Johnson in every opportunity that presents itself this year in how hard we work both on and off the court," Iden added. "Though we have been faced with unfortunate circumstances, the team has chosen to work towards overcoming the adversity that we have and are facing, spinning it into an chance to be something special. This year is more than just the wins and losses. We are playing for something greater than ourselves. Our chemistry all fall has been exceptional and we need to continue that as we embark the next stage of our journey."
The 12 victories last season were the most for an Earlham team since 2002-03.
"We made significant strides last year, but we definitely have room to improve and grow, especially defensively," Iden said. "As a coach, I rarely questioned the players' work ethic and intensity last year but we have to work smarter. As Pat Summitt says, "Don't just work hard, work smart." Last year, nearly all first-years and sophomores were on the court each possession. With a year under their belts, I expect them to have grown from their experience and take that next step. If we combine our work ethic and become smarter, we will be fine this season."
JaLissa Watt is the only senior on the roster, while Kasin Spay and Kiara Scott are the juniors. Spay led the Quakers in scoring a year ago at 15.6 points per contest.
"Players who are not back this season had accounted for nearly a third of our scoring and rebounding," Iden said. "Our returning players must step up and help fill that void. It is expected that the returners lead the way and set the bar of our expectations as a program to show and guide the first-years."
The returning sophomore players are Lexi McFarland, Sylvia Barnes, Sophia Richard, Hannah Franklin, Shania Feathers and Maya Luney. Emma Turcotte, Hannah Dyer, Mariah Flynn, Kayla Trevino, Symrin Greenhow and Emma Stilgenbauer are the first-years on the roster.
"We will need a couple of first-years to step up and grow quickly, given our style of play," Iden said. "Our off-court chemistry needs to translate into our on-court chemistry."
Earlham begins the season by hosting the Quaker Classic this weekend. The Quakers face Heidelberg University on Saturday and Denison University the following afternoon.
There are two more home games with St. Mary-of-the-Woods College (Nov. 19) and Kenyon College (Nov. 22) before the Quakers opens their HCAC slate at Bluffton University (Dec. 3).
"We have a lot of home games," Iden said. "We play 14 out of the 25 games at home, including seven of the first eight. With that being said, if we protect our home court, we will be very successful this season."
"We also have six of our non-conference games with teams in three of the toughest conferences in the region," Iden said. "Those games will be great challenges and measuring sticks for us."
"The HCAC has a lot of question marks this year," Iden continued. "A couple of the top teams in the conference had coaching changes, including the two time champions, Transylvania. Most teams were young last year and did not lose many graduating seniors, so it's expected that the level of play will rise. It appears that many teams have great size and post play will be a large factor too. Each game will be a real battle for us as we strive towards our goal. Nobody is going to take us lightly and we are not going to take anybody that we play lightly. We will focus on playing within ourselves and being our best each day."