2005-06 Women's Basketball
Beavers look to build on experience of returning letterwinners in 2005-06
By Jordan Bruner, sports information assistant
November 9, 2005
The Bluffton University women's basketball team has several new faces this season, including a new head coach. Chad Shutler takes over the reins of the women's program this season. Shutler comes to the Beavers from Bluffton High School where he served as the head coach for the varsity men's basketball team from 2000-2004. He was a graduate assistant for Bluffton University men's coach Guy Neal while working on his master's degree from 1997-1999. Shutler has been an integral part of several winning programs and he plans to bring that experience to the women's team, using the organizational, motivational and leadership tools that he picked up from those programs.
The Beavers are looking to improve this season and with an experienced returning cast they are set to do just that. Shutler plans to use his first season to build a solid foundation for the women's program and help take it to the upper echelon of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference. "We want to establish a good mindset and beliefs of how to play the game," said Shutler. "Increasing intensity, playing harder and understanding the game and its concepts will help put us in position to win." Shutler believes that if the team focuses on being competitive night in and night out then the wins will take care of themselves.
Franklin has been pegged to be the favorite again this year in the HCAC. Transylvania and Defiance are also expected to be in the top tier. "The HCAC is competitive throughout, from top to bottom, each team is going to be tough on any given night," Shutler said.
The 2005-06 team has a chance to take a huge step forward in the rebuilding process. The Beavers return a youthful yet experienced cast, including four starters from a year ago as well as several key reserves from 2004-05. "Since it is my first year here it is going to be open in terms of positions," Shutler said. "Those who practice hard and buy into the philosophies the coaching staff sets are going to see playing time."
Senior Karin Schaller (Jenera/Arlington) was, for the second consecutive season, named HCAC honorable mention in 2004-05 when she averaged 4.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game. She enters this season as Bluffton's all-time leader in blocked shots with 196, in addition her 115 blocks in 2003-04 is the single season record for both Bluffton and the Heartland conference.
Junior Tanya Rickenberg (Paulding/Paulding) returns at the point guard position where she earned her second straight HCAC honorable mention award a year ago. She finished in the top 15 of the HCAC in four different categories. Rickenberg averaged 10.9 points per game, shot 39.2 percent from the field, 67.9 percent from the line, and led Bluffton with 61 assists.
Sophomore Ashleigh Stallkamp (Paulding/Paulding), Bluffton's offensive player of the year from a year ago, brings with her an impressive resume from her freshman campaign. Stallkamp was named to the All-HCAC freshman team as she led Bluffton in scoring (14.4 ppg), rebounds (6.0 rpg) and steals (54). She also ranked tenth in the conference with 38 three-pointers last season.
Sophomores Angie Lee (Mt. Blanchard/Vanlue) and Amanda Bell (Napleon/Liberty Center) both saw extensive time at the guard positions last season and they will add depth and experience to the Beavers' backcourt. Lee averaged 5.5 points per game while shooting 34.8 percent from beyond the arc, and Bell averaged 5.3 points per game while dishing out 54 assists in 2004-05. Sophomore Lindsay Bush (Howard/East Knox), who put up 4 points and 4.5 rebounds per game last year, will provide a presence in the post while fellow sophomores Chelsea Moorhead (McComb/McComb) and Ashley Bloom (Tiffin/Calvert) add depth in the frontcourt.
Freshmen Sarah Bruner (Wauseon/Pettisville), Lauren Fisher (Cincinnati/Turpin), Lacie Sage (Big Prarie/Central Christian) and Leandra Thomas (Paulding/Paulding) are working to make solid contributions to the team as they compete with the upperclassmen for court time.