WolfPack women will rely heavily on freshmen

Ellen Hayden is the top returning scorer for the WolfPack women's basketball team.

Clarion staff

Ellen Hayden is the top returning scorer for the WolfPack women's basketball team.

Clarion staff report

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The Madison College women’s basketball team has only two returning players, the fewest since Jessica Pelzel’s first year as coach back in 2006-07.

That year, the team had one sophomore and little depth with just eight players on the roster. Still, the small squad managed to avoid a losing season, finishing 13-12.

Like 2006-07, this year’s team will rely on its younger players as it strives to improve upon last year’s 15-17 record – only the second losing season in Pelzel’s eight years as coach.

Twelve freshmen join returning starters Ellyn Hayden and Chelsey Schulenburg. Hayden, a 6-foot tall post player, scored seven points a game and had more than six rebounds a game last year. Schulenburg, 5-6 guard, scored 6.5 points a game and had 77 assists last year.

Madison College, now 1-2 overall, has seen contributions from a number of its freshmen in its first three games.

Guard Gabrielle Hood has led the way, scoring 18 points in the first game and 13 points in the team’s most recent game. Nicole Hoffmann, Kelly Calhoun and Meagan Mazur have each scored in double figures at least once this season as well.

Pelzel expects her team to continue to improve throughout the season and believes it has more depth than in recent years. She share her thoughts on the upcoming season with The Clarion:

What do you see as your team’s greatest strength this year and why? 

Pelzel: Our strength is our ability to run the floor and be up-tempo for 40 minutes.  Our depth this year will help us this year as well.  We have a bunch of people who can step up and take over a game when called upon

Who seems to be stepping up as team leaders this season and what do they bring to the table?

Pelzel: Ellyn Hayden. She brings her experience having played these teams last year she has knowledge of what to expect when we go on the road.  I think Megan Petty will bring a whole new dimension to our team when she joins us in January because she is very vocal and a great leader.

What incoming players are you most excited about and what do they bring to the team?

Pelzel: Our incoming players will have a huge impact on our success.  I am excited about all our players – there isn’t one I am more excited about, just the whole class and what potential they have. Our freshmen have a huge upside and I am excited to see what we accomplish with them.

You have only two returning players this year, what challenges does that present? How has it impacted things?

Pelzel: It makes us a very young team and will challenge us in the early part of the season, but I think our second year players will do a great job of bringing the freshman along quickly. But the challenges will be many as we learn to work together and adjust to the college level.

What will be your points of emphasis with the team this season? 

Pelzel: Making free throws and not turning over the ball. If we can do those things well we should have a good season.

What goals has the team set for itself this season? 

Pelzel: We haven’t set goals yet but will very soon.

Which teams do you think will be the ones to beat in the N4C and why? 

Pelzel: It will be the same as usual – Rock Valley, College of DuPage and Joliet.

The WolfPack’s next home game will be Dec. 3 at 5 p.m. against Elgin Community College. It will be the annual parent’s night game.

Other schedule highlights include: Youth Night, which will be held on Friday, Dec. 13, at 6 p.m. against College of Lake County; and Jam the Gym, which will be held on Saturday, Feb. 8, at 5 p.m. against Milwaukee Area Technical College.

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