Women's Basketball Set to Begin 2010-11 Season

By Sara Elcano, Assistant Athletics Communications Director

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University women’s basketball team returns six players from last season and has added nine new players to the roster for the 2010-11 season. The Bearcats finished 4-21 overall and 2-14 in the Northwest Conference last season.

The team will be led by senior guard Alex Zennan (Sammamish, WA/Eastlake HS), who was an Honorable Mention All-NWC selection last season after averaging 14.6 points per game. She scored in double digits in 21 games and posted a season-high 27 points on three different occasions.

Seniors Erin Barclay (G, Snohomish, WA/Bothell HS) and Shayna Glynn (F, Boise, ID/Walla Walla CC) will help lead a Willamette team that includes seven freshmen and two transfers students.

Kaileigh Westermann (Jr., F, Belfair, WA/South Kitsap HS), Maya McFaddin (Jr., F, McMinnville, OR/McMinnville HS) and Sophie Wilson (So., G, Port Townsend, WA/Port Townsend HS) also return for the Bearcats.

Westermann finished the 2009-10 season averaging 6.5 points per game and 6.8 rebounds per game. She started in all 25 contests as a sophomore.

McFaddin, who started in 21 games for the Bearcats last season, averaged 4.6 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. Wilson will look to increase her scoring in her sophomore season for Willamette. After scoring five or more points in four of Willamette’s last five games, the Bearcats will look to get more offensive output from Wilson in the coming season.

Kelsey Mueller (G, Fr., Tacoma, WA/Franklin Pierce HS) and Breanne Faehnrich (G, Fr., Newcastle, WA/Liberty HS) will add depth at the guard positions for Willamette.

At the forward position, the Bearcats have added six players. Transfers Dora Rabih (Jr., F, Denver, CO/Arizona Western College) and Andrea Harris (Jr., F, Halsey, OR/Oregon State Univ.) will each see time at the forward position.

Freshmen MacKenzie Lamson (Portland, OR/Lincoln HS), Tia Williams (Salem, OR/South Salem HS), Alexa Beeson (Portland, OR/Lincoln HS) and Rebecca Josephson (Fair Oaks, CA/Del Campo HS) will all battle for time at the forward position as well.

Inside the paint, WU will look to freshman Alex Brunt-Pluta (P, Encinitas, CA/Canyon Crest Academy). Brunt-Pluta’s 6’0” frame will help the Bearcats increase their toughness inside.

The Bearcats averaged 52.1 points per game under the direction of first year Head Coach Anne Lapray in 2009-10. Willamette shot 32.8% from the field and 62.3% from the free throw line last season.

Willamette will look to improve their defensive pressure and win the rebounding battle on a more consistent basis in the coming season. More overall depth should help the Bearcats in the 2010-11 season.

The Bearcats were picked to finish 9th in the Northwest Conference Preseason Poll, as voted on by the head coaches. George Fox University is the early favorite to repeat as NWC Champions.

WU played an exhibition game on Wednesday, Nov. 3 at the University of Oregon. Willamette lost the game 121-41 but were paced by Zennan. Zennan posted 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds.

The team will open their regular season on Friday, Nov. 19 at Concordia University in Portland, Ore. Game time is set for 7 p.m. (PST) in Portland.

The Bearcats will play their home opener on Saturday, Nov. 20 against Northwest Christian University. The game will begin at 5 p.m. (PST) in Cone Field House.

Following the women’s game, the Willamette men’s basketball team will face Northwest Christian University at 7 p.m. (PST). Willamette will dedicate Gordie James Court in honor of former Head Coach Gordie James during halftime of the men’s game.

Sophie Wilson is one of six returning players for WU.

Sophie Wilson is one of six returning players for WU.