A year ago Mike Woollard took control of the RDC Queens basketball team with only two players returning, and both of them were in their second season.
This year it’s a new story. Woollard has six veterans, two former players and a transfer to work with.
“It’s nice as we have four rookies, not 12,” he said. “Having a number of players who know what to expect and the level they have to play at makes a world of difference.”
Guard Sarah Williamson is in her third season while six-foot-two Jessica Foley returns for a fourth season after taking last season off. Paola Viveros has also played parts of two previous seasons and is back in camp.
Guards Dedra Janvier, Carly Hoar and Carly Kolesnik and forwards Desirae Paterson and Kaitlin Bracko are all in their second season.
Paterson started a bit slow last season after being away from the game for a couple of years, but led the team with 9.4 points per game and 5.8 rebounds.
Janvier finished with 6.8 points per game while Williamson had 6.4 points and 4.3 rebounds per start. Bracko also came on as the season wore on and had 5.8 points and 3.5 rebounds per game while Hoar added 5.6 points and 3.4 rebounds.
As well Mozanga Ekwalanga, who averaged 7.8 points per game and 5.4 rebounds, has transferred from St. Mary’s University in Calgary.
Point guards Manesha Sidhu and Gillian Griffin of Calgary, small forward Janelle Kakakaway of Calgary and forward Simone Bain of Edmonton round out the roster. Hunting Hills grad Matti Klootwyk could join the team at Christmas after having knee surgery,
“We have a nice mix of players returning, players with previous experience and good looking rookies,” said Woollard. “It’s a lot better situation than last year.”
Despite the rookie lineup the Queens managed to win five games, compared to two the previous season.
“We feel a lot better going into this season and everyone is super excited,” said Woollard. “You never know what will happen, but a lot of the players were around during the off-season and had a very good summer.”
The one position Woollard does lack a bit of experience is at point guard with Melissa Woolley injuring her knee and not returning.
“We’ll miss her, so we’ll be young there, but Carly (Hoar) and Sarah will help out and we’ll be experienced all around the younger players,” said Woollard, who definitely needs to cut down on turnovers if they want to continue to progress.
“We shot OK last year but didn’t get near as many shots as we needed to and that had a lot to do with turnovers,” said Woollard. “That’s something we’ve been working on already.”
l Jessica Albricht and Kathleen Harris are the assistant coaches . . . Queens first exhibition play is Sept, 22 when they face the Calgary Storm club team at 11 a.m. and their alumni at 5 p.m. . . . They go to the Go tournament in Edmonton Oct. 3-5 playing Grande Prairie, Concordia and Briercrest and go to Vancouver on Oct. 12-14.