2006-07 Women's Basketball Season Outlook
Oct. 27, 2006
Success is a centerpiece of the Viking program. Western has reached post-season play in all but one year of its history, and has reached the NCAA Division II National Tournament all eight years it has been a full NCAA member. Last year, the Vikings were 27-2 overall, won the Great Northwest Athleic Conference with a perfect 18-0 mark, and reached the semifinals of the West Regional of the national tournament.
Four letter winners return from that squad for coach
"The newness is exciting," said Dolfo. "You can get a little spoiled with a lot of players who have been in the program a long time. We still have some solid returnees who have been stepping up in leadership roles, it's something we've been working on since the day after last season ended."
The lone returning starter is 5-11 senior guard Mollie Stelmack (
"Mollie started for us last year after transferring here, and she's a great shooter," said Dolfo. "She has a really positive vibe to her. She loves playing, you can see it on her face, and it brings everyone up around her."
"She looks strong," Dolfo said of Robinson. She's always been a good defender and I think she's improved at the offensive end. She's an upbeat, competitive person, and that's something she passes on to other people."
Three more letter winners are back, and all saw extensive time last season, led by sophomore 6-1 center Claire Pallansch (
"She's going to play the five spot (center) this year," said Dolfo. "She's worked really hard on back-to-basket moves, and by being in the post more, it should help us with rebounding. She has a lot of ability, the more confident she becomes, the more she can become a real impact post player."
Junior 5-11 forward Liz McCarrell (
"Liz has really stepped into a leadership role," Dolfo said. "Her expectations for herself have gone up and she's playing with a lot more confidence. She's a great slasher, her issue last year was consistency, and I think her new confidence helps that."
Completing the returning letter winners is sophomore 6-1 forward Willow Cabe (McCleary/Elma), who averaged 3.4 points and 2.9 rebounds as a freshman.
The other player with experience in the program is 6-2 redshirt freshman center Krista Lersch (Lynnwood/Blanchet).
Two of the three transfers are point guards. India Soo (Kamuela, HI/Kamehameha), a 5-6 sophomore, averaged 5.2 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists at Idaho State in the 2004-05 season, starting 21 games, before sitting out last year. MacKenzie Flynn (
"Both are very determined, feisty players, but in different ways," said Dolfo. "
The other transfer is 6-0 sophomore forward Sarah Schramm (Chelan), who saw action in 13 games for Gonzaga last year.
"She's very athletic and very strong," Dolfo said of Schramm. "She can play either inside or outside for us."
Rounding out the roster are three freshmen.
Amanda Dunbar (Marysville/Marysville-Pilchuck), a 5-9 guard, averaged 17.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists as a high school senior, earning first-team Everett Herald all-area honors, and was MVP of the East-West all-star game last spring.
"Amanda is a great shooter who can pull up from anywhere and she's very athletic," said Dolfo. "She played for (Western grad) Julie Walker in high school, so she knows something about how we play and the transition should be easier for her than most freshmen."
Gabby Wade (Lacey/River Ridge), a 5-9 forward, averaged 12.5 points and 12.0 rebounds, earning second-team Class 3A all-state honors from the Associated Press.
Chelsea Bilskemper (North
Dolfo indicated getting the newcomers adjusted to doing things the Western way will be important. Eight of the first 11 games are on the road, including tournaments in
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