2000-2001 Cowgirl Basketball Season Outlook
Nov. 10, 2000
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
There is much anticipation as the 2000-01 Wyoming Cowgirl basketball season approaches. There are several familiar faces, along with new additions to this year's Cowgirl team, as head coach Cindy Fisher begins her third season at the helm.
Fisher welcomes back eight letterwinners and three starters, along with three newcomers to the squad. With three returning starters and five other letterwinners that saw significant playing time last season, the Cowgirls will look to improve on a 10-18 overall record and a 4-10 conference mark.
"I'm very excited about this year's team," said Fisher. "Overall, even though we're going to be young in key positions, I think our players gained valuable experience, playing key minutes, and we should be able to build on that during the season. Although we're lacking in numbers right now, with injuries and redshirts, I think the nucleus of this team will be strong and do some things in the Mountain West Conference."
The 2000-01 squad will be made up of two seniors, six juniors, four sophomores, and one freshman. With a couple of seasons and recruiting classes under her belt, Fisher says her expectations for this team are high.
"I expect a lot more from this year's team than last with a whole year of experience," said Fisher. "Expectations are always higher going into the season, and the team has put a lot on themselves. They're great competitors, and committed to this team. I look for this to be a year that we gel together as a team, and really start to build on what this program is going to be about in the future."
Due to an injury to forward Carrie Bacon this season, Fisher will look to several people this season for leadership and big contributions, especially the three returning starters. Senior Jessica Gibbs, a solid starter from a year ago, returns as the Cowgirls expected leader. She finished second on the team in points and rebounds with 10.5 and 7.7 respectively. Carly Stucky, played in every game as a true freshman, leading the Cowgirls in both steals and assists. Returning center Ann McColl will also see significant playing time. Also expected to make a strong contribution will be guards Shelby Hoffman and Heather Shaffner, along with forwards Darci Arsene, Christy Bacon, and Lisa McCann. Hoffman averaged 12.6 points in 26.1 minutes of play, while Arsene finished with her freshman campaign averaging three points and 3.3 rebounds. McCann contributed 3.1 points and two rebounds in 26 games.
"I think losing Carrie this year obviously gives some other players an opportunity to step up and really take their game to another level. It also puts the pressure on them to become scorers and good defenders."
"Jessica Gibbs is a very strong player in the post, and we'll look for leadership from her. Senior Shelby Hoffman has put in a great deal of work in the off-season, and looks as good as I've ever seen her. She's really developed from just a three-point shooter into a player that can pull up and hit a jumper or go in and rebound. I've also seen Christy Bacon do some nice things in the off-season. She is a very athletic player for us, and will really help us on the defensive side of the ball. We will look forward to stepping in at the three position and contributing."
"Second year players Carly Stucky and Darci Arsene also look to factor into this year's team. Carly played a lot of minutes, and will definitely lead us at the point. She's looking forward to be a leader on this team, and taking us to another level."
Despite the loss of Carrie Bacon and the youth in certain positions, Coach Fisher sees great potential in her team.
"The strength of this team is the fact that they've put in a great deal of work in the off-season. They've all come in very good shape and condition, and there's a great opportunity to do some good things in this conference. We obviously have a strong perimeter and post game with Ann McColl, Jessica Gibbs, Lisa McCann and Darci Arsene, who can give us some good size and strength in the post."
"I really don't feel like we have a lot of weaknesses, except for depth. But, I really believe in the nucleus of this team. Once we start building and getting to know one another, we're going to get better."
In the off season, the Cowgirls brought in one freshman and two transfers.
The real impact player could be freshman guard Brenda Pickup. Pickup, a 5-7 point guard from Prairie High School in Brush Prairie, Wash., averaged 12 points, five assists and six steals. A two-time All-District selection, she helped lead her team to state championships as a sophomore and junior, plus the runner-up spot this past season. Over a three-year period, her team's overall record was 71-8, and as a senior, she was named USA Today Honorable Mention High School All-American, WIAA All-State, and an All-American at the BCI Tournament.
"I'm really excited about the addition of Brenda to our squad. We needed more depth in the guard position with the loss of Carrie and only one true point guard in Carly. With her presence, she should really be able to help us out tremendously."
In addition to Pickup, the Cowgirls welcome Chassie and Cherrith Wiersma. Chassie, a 5-11 guard from Central Point, Ore., averaged 6.9 points and 4.1 rebounds last season at Oregon State. Her twin sister Cherrith is a 5-9 guard who also transferred from Oregon State, where she was a two-year starter. Both players will have to sit out this season under NCAA transfer rules. They will resume play during the 2001-02 season with two years of eligibility remaining.
This season, Wyoming enters their second season of competition in the Mountain West Conference. The Cowgirls will face fierce competition every night against several top schools, which include Air Force, Brigham Young, Colorado State, New Mexico, UNLV, Utah and San Diego State. The Cowgirls will once again play each of those teams in a home and away series.
Once again, the Cowgirls will face one of the tougher schedules with non-conference games against such perennial teams as Colorado, Kansas State, Nevada and Oregon State.
"Our conference and non-conference schedule is very competitive. I'm very excited about the fact we have several home games. We can bring the show into the MPG and allow people to watch us early, and see what this team's all about. I hope being at home will also build confidence in our team, and help us get ready for the conference season."
The conference schedule will see the Cowgirls play some high caliber opponents in Brigham Young, Colorado State, New Mexico and Utah. The Cowgirls will also be playing several teams that participated in the NCAA Tournament last season.
"I think the conference season will be a dogfight every night. It's a very strong conference that continues to get stronger. There are some young players in the conference, so they will also have a year under their belt just like us, and I think it will be very competitive. Again we open up with Colorado State at home this year, and it's always an exciting game for us. We're just going to fight to be in the top four spots of the conference at the end of the year."
The Mountain West Conference Tournament will be held in Las Vegas, Nev.
Each team in the conference will qualify for the single-elimination
tournament, which begins on Wednesday, March 7, 2000 and runs through
Saturday, March 10th.