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ISSUE 120 VOL 7 PUBLISHED 11/10/2006

Winter Preview, Women's Basketball: Running the floor

By Shoshanna Blank
Staff Writer

Friday, November 10, 2006

Despite losing two starters to graduation, the Ole women’'s basketball team seeks improvement in a competitive MIAC. St. Olaf finished seventh last year in the MIAC with a 10-15 record.

At the end of last year'’s season, the team went 6-2 and ended up a game away from the playoffs. They beat Carleton, a team that went to the MIAC championship game, by three points in Carleton’'s gym.

“"We were one of the hottest teams in the league in that last month and a half of play,”" head coach Pat Buresh, now in her 18th year with the Oles, said. "“Hopefully we can build on that momentum in the early going."”

Leading the Oles this year are captains Christina Sampson ‘'07, Holly Grimsrud '‘07 and Kristina Stoermer ‘'08. Along with Danielle Stoermer ‘'08, these four comprise the team’s nucleus.

A key focus for the Oles in the early weeks of practice has been the desire to get the ball out in transition. This does not allow the opposition to get into any sort of rhythm defensively, and creates easy opportunities to score.

“"I feel that we have the right group to play to this fast-paced style,"” Buresh said. “"We want to be quick, but we don’t want to hurry.”"

Buresh also noted that being a transition team will be impossible if defensive intensity is not a focus and if rebounding isn'’t stressed.

“In order to be a transition team you have to play good defense and control the boards,” Buresh said. “It all starts with defense.”

Sampson was an all-conference honorable mention selection for the MIAC last year and finished in the top 10 in assists and 3-point field goal percentage. Grimsrud was seventh in 3-point percentage and Kristina Stoermer was seventh in field goal percentage.

“"We’'re much improved from a year ago,"” Buresh said. “"We did, however, lose three key players and we will have to be fundamentally solid to achieve our goal of being in the top six and competing in the MIAC playoffs."”

The Oles open their season by traveling to Virginia for games Nov. 17 and 18.

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