By Leslie Crofton, Sports Information Intern

The Rhode Island College women’s basketball team is hoping to have a solid season, despite its two major disadvantages: lack of size and an overabundance of youth.

Long-time women’s hoops coach Mike Kelley has faith in his squad, but he recognizes that the 2001-02 season will most likely be a springboard for the program’s future rather than a championship season in its own right.

"I hope that our athleticism will compensate for our lack of size," says Kelley. "We’re small but quick, so we’ll have to extend the whole floor and make steals and turnovers mid-court. We’re looking to make our opponent make mistakes there, because we’re going to have trouble defensively with shot blocking. Our team is young, with just one senior [Melanie Wolf] and two juniors [Pam Kelly and Alicia Hersperger], but we have a core of five sophomores who played a lot as freshmen who will help us a lot."

Kelley looks to sophomore Liz Shields as his "go-to person" when it comes to scoring, calling the forward his "top offensive threat." He also praises the improvement he has seen in sophomores Katie Hansen and Monyca Vickers since their rookie season. Hansen has come into her own at point guard and Vickers was the Anchorwomen’s leading scorer at the Skidmore Tip-Off Tournament on Nov. 17 and 18, earning all-tournament honors. Wolf and sophomores Abby Ferri and Angela Sarette have improved offensively as well, according to Kelley. Freshman guard Becky Bissonnette has been RIC’s top rookie so far this season, getting a lot of playing time from day one.

"We lost Beth Iaccoi to graduation last year, which hurts us, and the only freshman we gained who will have immediate impact is Bissonnette," says Kelley. "We will have to overachieve to be successful this year, especially in the Little East Conference."

Despite the fact their team will most likely have some adversity to overcome this season, the players are focused and ready to do whatever is necessary to succeed. Spirits are high and the dedication is there. Co-Captain Pam Kelly is representative of that positive energy, saying, "This year’s team is ready for anything. It should be exciting to see what will happen throughout the season."

The Anchorwomen are currently 1-3 overall. The squad split games during its season debut at the Skidmore Tip-Off Tournament, falling to host Skidmore 57-54 on Nov. 17 before picking up a 52-43 win against Coast Guard the following day. In RIC’s first home game of the year on Nov. 20, RIC lost to Salve Regina 67-45. The Anchorwomen played a great game against a Wesleyan team with a perfect record on Nov. 27, losing 63-52 after leading into the second half.

In upcoming action, the Anchorwomen will play at Roger Williams on Nov. 29 and get their first crack at Little East Conference competition when they host Eastern Connecticut on Dec. 1.


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