By George Bremer
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
It’s a new day for the Anderson University women’s basketball team, and head coach Marcie Taylor can’t wait to get it started.
A year after posting an 8-17 overall record and a 5-13 mark in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference, the Ravens have six new faces on their 13-player roster.
“This group has been working exceptionally hard, and they’re definitely anxious to play,” Taylor said. “Some quality, young, new players have been added to the roster, and I’m excited to see them play in a game situation.”
The newcomers will be discussed in a moment, but much of the preseason focus falls on one returning star.
Amy Wuestefeld, a senior from Batesville, led AU in scoring (12.5 points per game), rebounding (6.0), assists (2.6) and steals (2.0) a year ago while shooting 31 percent from beyond the 3-point arc. The 5-foot-4 point guard will again be looked to as a leader for this team.
“Amy’s doing a great job running the point,” Taylor said. “She’s doing a great job all-around. She’s just a really good player.”
As is her sister, Ashley, whose season has been cut short each of the past two years by injuries. Ashley Wuestefeld played in just 16 games last season, with nine starts, and averaged 7.9 points per game behind a team-leading 40.5 percent showing from 3-point range.
“We’re excited to have her back,” Taylor said. “We’re crossing our fingers (that she can avoid injury). She’s a solid defensive player, and she’s a good offensive player. We need her to stay healthy.”
The Ravens’ other key returner is junior guard Jenna Wittenberg from Maconaquah. She averaged 7.8 points per game a year ago and made 36 percent of her 3-point attempts.
Among the many newcomers are freshmen Mallory King of Fishers, Ricci Snell of Cincinnati and Megan Williams of Jasper. Sophomore Cori Conner also figures to factor into the rotation after transferring in from Alvernia University.
Anderson opens the season on Friday and Saturday with a pair of games in the AU Tip-off Tournament.
“The atmosphere’s good, and it’s nice to open at home,” Taylor said. “It’s nice to have familiar surroundings, especially with so many new kids.”
Taylor said she’s seen steady progress on the practice court. The Ravens are taking the lessons learned in individual and group drills and transferring them to scrimmages and 5-on-5 work. The only step left is to see how the players respond when the whistles are live.
AU was picked to finish ninth in the HCAC, but Taylor believes her squad can surpass that modest expectation. She’d like to see the Ravens finish at .500 overall and make a run at fourth place in the conference, which would give them a berth in the postseason tournament.
“This team is real competitive, and that’s a big step forward for us,” she said. “They’re not satisfied just playing the game, they want to win.”