Two words sum up this year's Skyhawk women's basketball team - great expectations.
Head Coach Jolene Leseman says that while they may not have the size, The Skyhawks have other talents that can make them outstanding this season.
Boasting a deeper perimeter game this year, the biggest attribute the Skyhawks have is team chemistry. Leseman said this has reflected in their fall practices and workouts, and Leseman describes them as a tight-knit group that respects each other.
"I have great expectations for this team, but, it will come down to them and how well they do," said Leseman. "I am very proud of the fact that these players are respectful and responsible. You ask them to do things and they do it. They don't argue or question it."
While the Skyhawks are relatively inexperienced with only two returning sophomores that did not have that much playing time last year, both have shown change. Returning sophomores Katie Johnson and Camille Thomas have leadership potential, which Leseman says the Skyhawks lacked last year. Johnson, known as "KJ," is an outstanding rebounder and Thomas has matured as a player. The freshmen include Kayla Romano of Sterling. She has great range and can be a huge outside threat. Jen Christ carries a solid work ethic. Twins Jordan and Leah Saunders both love to play the game and it shows in their on-court performance. Both also have a solid work ethic that will help solidify the Skyhawks. Mackenzie Melendrez will also contribute. Leseman says she goes out and does little things on the court that people don't see and Joy Richard of Rock Falls will help add depth to the Skyhawks' perimeter game.
Leseman says she has really solid athletes. "They know what is expected of them and work hard from one another," she said. "People will look past us because of our size, but, we have speed and other attributes. Leseman added that improving the offense to be better rounded than last season will be a top priority for the Skyhawks.
The Skyhawks' '09-'10 schedule is competitive with one change. Vincennes University has been replaced by William Daley Community College in Chicago. Leseman says that this change is better logistically for the team in terms of travel, budget, and allows the Skyhawks to play a high-caliber team closer to home in the region.