Just how good the RDC Queens basketball team will be this season is still up in the air.
But they certainly should be improved.
The Queens are still young, with seven rookies on the 12-player roster, but head coach Dawn Smyth doesn’t mind that at all.
“We were able to get all the recruits we went after and we’re significantly improved over last season. We have more speed and talent, no question about that.”
One of the major recruits is point guard Katlyn Olsen of the provincial 4A champion Raymond Comets.
“We definitely needed a point guard and Katlyn will be our leader there,” said Smyth, who also added Megan Ivancic of Spruce Grove and Leah Adelman of Regina at the point.
Ivancic is also listed at shooting guard.
Both Lisa Ivanic of Foremost and Chelsea Dyck of Calgary’s Centennial High School are listed at shooting guard and the wing.
Veterans Trudie Lefrugey and Austin Jones return at guard as does Monica Lewing, who missed most of the last three seasons with knee and shoulder injuries.
Other veterans are post Morgan Rauser and forward Kari Youmans.
Lefrugey was one of the Queens most consistent players by the end of last season and finished third in team scoring with a 7.0 point-per-game average and was second in rebounds with 4.8 per start. Rauser was one of the premier rebounders in the Alberta Colleges Women’s Basketball League’s South Division as a rookie, recording 8.8 boards per game. She was also second on the team in scoring with a 7.2 average.
The scoring needs to pick up this season and Smyth feels she has the talent to do so.
“Both Lisa and Megan are natural scorers while Chelsea brings ability and intensity to the team,” she said.
The other two new faces are Kim Njaa of Regina and Jessica Foley of Rimbey, both listed at six-foot-one.
“They will definitely help our inside game,” said Smyth, who has four red shirts, including veteran Annuschka Swarts, who may also see some playing time.
Other red shirts, at least at the beginning of the season, are Paola Viveros of Notre Dame, six-foot-three Crystal Davidson and Jenessa Karlowsky of Manitoba.
“It just shows how much talent we have this year as in the past these girls would have played,” said Smyth, who has put together a tough preseason schedule.
“We wanted to play as many tough games as we could,” she said. “Our league will be tough. I know most of the teams in the south have improved, as we have, so we need to be at the top of our game.”
Queens preseason begins Sept. 25-26 with the RDC Sandman Hotel Fall Royalty Classic.
The Queens meet Grande Prairie Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. and take on SAIT at 10:30 a.m. and MacEwan College of Edmonton at 5 p.m. Sept. 26.
The Kings face MacEwan at 9 p.m. Sept. 25 and NAIT at 7 p.m., Sept. 26.
The RDC squads visit Augustana University on Sept. 30 with the Queens competing in the SAIT tournament, Oct. 1-4. They also visit the UBC of Okanagan in Kelowna Oct. 17 with their league opening Oct. 23-24 at home against Lethbridge.
l Queens will also throw a scrimmage in against the University of Calgary . . . Cherish Esau and Keith Williams are assistant coaches.