Head coach Dawn Smyth knows she has a lot of work to do to build the RDC Queens into a contender in the Alberta Colleges Women’s Basketball League.
But she also believes she’s going in the right direction, which is evident by watching the team’s ID camp at RDC this weekend.
Smyth has 31 players in camp, several of whom she says will play a major role in the rebuilding process.
The Queens needed to add depth at all positions, but especially up front and at the point guard.
“I spent a lot of time recruiting those two positions, and there certainly is some talent here,” she said.
One of Smyth’s top recruits is Raymond Comets point guard Katlyn Olsen, who has been offered a full-ride scholarship. Olsen, who is at the ID camp, is also being recruited by the University of Lethbridge and has until April 10 to accept the scholarship offer.
“Katlyn is one of our top recruits and would definitely strengthen the team,” said Smyth, who does have a commitment from guards Lisa Ivanic of Foremost and Megan Ivancic of Spruce Grove.
“Megan can play the one (point guard) position if needed, but she’s such a good shooter we’d like to use her as a shooting guard,” explained Smyth, who does have Leah Adelman of Saskatoon and Shelby Ross of Brooks listed at point guard.
Overall the Queens could have 10 players back from last season, with forward Trudie Lefurgey, who was the Queens’ top player by the end of last season, and six-foot-two post player, Morgan Rauser back for sure.
“You never know what will happen, but there’s a possibility of having several positions up for grabs,” said Smyth. “It’s up to everyone to battle for those spots.”
Gone for sure is third-year guard Megan Wiggins, who will attend Dalhousie University next season. Wiggins is the second RDC grad to attend university since Smyth took over as coach. Jill Wheat played at Queens this season.
“We’re still a developmental league and I believe it’s good for the girls to play college ball and develop so they can move on,” said Smyth. “Some coaches don’t want their players to move on, but I see nothing wrong with it, as long as they’re ready. And I believe by playing college they get the minutes they need to develop, plus they get their education.”
While Smyth knows guard play will be key next season she should have much more depth inside, alongside Rauser.
Lauren Loyek of Rimbey, who played with MacEwan last season, is in camp along with six-foot-two Jessica Foley of Rimbey, six-foot-three Crystal Davidson of Prince Albert and six-foot Katherine Bergum of Ponoka.
Forward Paola Viveros and guard Laura Gosselin of Notre Dame and post player Lynette Klootwyk of Hunting Hills are also on hand.
Smyth also has four Grade 11 players — Kari Kubinec of Trochu, Courtney Loyek and Kate Van Ankum of Rimbey and Brittany Stinsman of Edmonton — and one Grade 10 — Keitlyn Williams of Lindsay Thurber — in camp.
Smyth hopes to have her roster set for next season in the next couple of weeks.
“I wanted it all in place shortly so we can get the off-season training in place and get the residences and scholarships sorted out,” she said.
l Kings coach Craig Behan is bringing in six recruits, who couldn’t make his ID camp, to have a look Tuesday and will hold an ID camp in Toronto on Saturday.
l Hockey Queens are holding their ID camp today at the Arena.
Contact Danny Rode at email@example.com