MILWAUKEE -- Four seniors and five juniors comprise the roster of the Alverno College women's basketball team this 2012-13 season, one of the most experienced teams head coach Brad Duckworth has directed.
"We have a veteran team and I'm really expecting some great things from them," Duckworth said. "It's not that often that you have nine juniors and seniors."
The six experienced returners have combined for over 300 games played and nearly 100 combined starts to their credit.
Senior guard Kayla Kennedy (Trempealeau, Wis./Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau) and junior forward Jamie Hoernke (Mt. Horeb, Wis.) each started in over half of the Inferno's games a season ago, while junior point guard Kristen Speerschneider (New Franken, Wis./Luxemburg-Casco) started in all 25 contests.
Speerschneider led the team with 3.1 assists per game, had a team-best 1.4 assist-to-turnover ratio and chipped in 8.0 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game.
Kennedy, the team's top perimeter defender, averaged 7.0 points 3.7 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 1.0 steals per contest, while Hoernke made nearly 43 percent of her field goal tries for 4.2 points per game and cleaned the glass with a team-high 5.7 rebounding average.
Anna Boteva (La Crosse, Wis./Central), a junior guard, saw action in all 25 games last season for a 3.5 scoring average. Seniors, guard Marissa Christjohn (Milwaukee, Wis./Thomas More) and center Kaitlin Schaeren (New Berlin, Wis./West), saw the most court time of their careers in 2011-12, and will look to contribute even more in 2012-13.
Though the team has three newcomers, the trio of transfers enters the season in their junior or senior year of eligibility.
Junior forward Devon Gorman (Mosinee, Wis.) comes in from the University of Wisconsin-Marathon Country, after a successful 2-year junior college career with the Huskies who went 42-7 in two seasons.
UW-Waukesha alum, junior guard Ashley Berry (West Allis, Wis./Nathan Hale), scored 470 career points for the Cougars who went 19-7 her sophomore season, while Nicole Meleski (New Berlin, Wis./Pius XI) joins the Inferno for her final year of eligibility.
"Everyone gets along really well, and [the newcomers] fit in already," commented Duckworth.
The Inferno finished last season with a 9-16 overall record (5-13 Northern Athletics Conference), but the 4-year seniors were all a part of the program's most successful team their rookie season, which went 11-7 in the league and earned a spot in the NAC tournament for the first time.
Alverno opens play in the inaugural Women's College Tipoff Tournament, Nov. 17-18, at home. The WCTT features four women's colleges: Alverno, Mount Mary College, Saint Catherine University and Stephens College. Mount Mary and St. Kate's will open play Saturday at 5 p.m., followed by the Inferno versus Stephens at 7. The consolation and championship games will tip off at 1 and 3 p.m. on Sunday in Reiman Gymnasium.