Who picks up the offensive slack, if anybody, will go a long way in determining how Dalhousie’s women’s basketball team will do this season.
The Tigers will need a strong shooter to make up for the sparkling 20.5 points per game Keisha Brown averaged in her graduating year, good for second best in Atlantic University Sport (AUS).
Will it be the player bringing the ball up the court, Courtney Thompson? Maybe the dynamic Tessa Stammberger? Talented shooting guard Robbi Daley? Or veteran addition Rebecca Nuttall?
If you ask Tigers head coach Anna Stammberger, hopefully it’s all of the above, and then some.
“We’ll see,” she said. “Everybody will have to pick up a little.”
The absence of Brown, along with fellow graduate Anna von Maltzahn, will require some adjustments from a Tigers team looking to improve upon last year’s passable 10-10 record. The conference’s fourth seed was quickly eliminated in the quarterfinal against Memorial.
Dal will also need to be more consistent. After winning five of their first seven games last season, the Tigers faltered, dropping seven of their final nine regular season matches.
“That’s always the big dream for everybody, it’s consistency, within the game and within the season,” Stammberger said. “Even yesterday” referencing Dal’s 73-51 preseason loss to Carleton, “we had a great first half, we were up by 10, going into halftime, and then we had a very poor second half.
“How do you maintain that consistency? I think there’s no magic answer.”
Only one of last season’s three rookies will rejoin a Tigers unit that is equal parts new and old. Six recruits will join seven returnees on this season’s roster, which includes the aforementioned offensive threats as well as Ainsley MacIntyre and Korenda Colley. The rookie class is led by Sarnia’s Melissa Ellis and Sackville’s Shaylyn Field.
Daley and Tessa Stammberger have been selected by their teammates as captain and associate, respectively.
Daley said it is a privilege to lead the team.
“I want to set a good example for my teammates anyways, but it’s an extra responsibility and I want to do it well.”
Without any fifth years, coach Stammberger concedes her team is young, but knows their athleticism and balanced attack can help the Tigers qualify for another top four finish.
“I think we have a team that can run in transition, pretty athletic and, you know, I think we’re pretty balanced,” she said.
“We won’t depend on one or two people to get the job done every night. We have different people that will step up at different times.”
The Tigers open the regular season at home with a pair of contests against the University of New Brunswick Nov. 8-9.