Top News

McLeod wants better chemistry from 2007-2008 Axewomen


None

Acadia's Jennifer Bishop: her presence is already being felt.

BY JOHN DECOSTE

The Advertiser

NovaNewsNow.com

Angie McLeod could be excused for thinking there’s no place for her Acadia basketball Axewomen to go this season but up.

The Axewomen have had worse seasons statistically than last year’s 5-15 finish, but the program arguably hit rock bottom in terms of chemistry and overall team morale.

McLeod is hopeful an infusion of new players and the continued maturing of last year’s rookie crop will translate into better times in 2007-2008 and beyond.

The Axewomen lost Kim Hurley and Ginny Gane to graduation, Cailin Crosby has left Acadia with the intention of transferring to Dalhousie, Anna Crosby is taking a year off school and Semra Ilhan is back as a student but isn’t playing basketball.

McLeod got some good news when Jennifer Bishop - along with Gane and Hurley, a 2007 graduate - was accepted into Acadia’s School of Education, allowing her to return for a fifth and final season with the Axewomen.

McLeod expects Bishop, Samantha Nuttall, who takes over as the starting point guard, and sophomore Becky Mutch “to be the team leaders and to lead by example,” on and off the court.

Marrla Evans, who transferred to Acadia prior to last season, is also back and while McLeod’s expectations aren’t quite as high for Evans, she expects her “to continue to improve. We’ll be working together on improving her skills and focus.”

The extra work appears to be having an effect, at least in the early going. Evans had 11 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in a 72-53 exhibition win over SMU Oct. 3 in Windsor, narrowly missing a ‘triple-double’, and was one of Acadia’s best players.

Bishop led Acadia with 17 points against the Huskies and Nuttall contributed 11.

Enthused about new recruits

McLeod is enthusiastic about her crop of new recruits, a list led by Horton graduate Emma Duinker, a 6’ swing player who is “very intelligent, bright and has a good basketball IQ as well.”

Duinker, who played on back-to-back provincial high school champions at Horton, is “technically strong, but needs to work on her three-point shooting.” Overall, though, McLeod expects Duinker “to challenge for the conference Rookie of the Year.”

Duinker had 11 points and five rebounds in the exhibition opener against SMU.

Looking at a frontcourt that lacked size last season, McLeod recruited a pair of 6’2” post players: Jaclyn Krucik from Edmonton and Brianna Osimok from Barrie, Ont.

Krucik, a first-team all-star in the Alberta college conference last year, is a potential impact player, though a knee injury is likely to delay her Acadia debut.

Osimok, who was offered a scholarship to Boston University before injuring her ankle, had surgery last season and is good to go. She had five points and seven rebounds in the win over the Huskies.

There are also a couple of “under the radar kids” in Aliesja MacDonald, a Halifax West graduate who sees the court well and is projected to be the back-up point guard; and Maddie Raymond, a St. Pat’s grad familiar to McLeod from the regional Centre for Performance (CP) program, in which Duinker also took part.

Rounding out the roster are Marianne Thomson (seven points against SMU) and Leslie Steeves, both in third year; Horton grad Jessica Hutchinson (six points against SMU), in her second year; and first-year players Amanda Harwood from Halifax and Courtney Doane from Shelburne.

McLeod is expecting Acadia’s team chemistry “to be much better this year.” In fact, “we should be a better team all-round. I’ll be very surprised if we don’t have a much better year than last.”

Acadia is hosting the conference championship next spring, meaning the Axewomen receive an automatic berth into the tournament. McLeod would like nothing more than to see Acadia walk in through the front door as one of the top six teams in the AUBC.

Recent Stories