The Eastern Michigan University women’s basketball team had some question marks heading into the 2009-10 season. With incoming freshmen and transfer players due to play roles on the squad, many weren’t quite sure what the team was going to produce. But one player who was a sure thing is guard Cassie Schrock.
“She’s our rock, so to speak,” coach AnnMarie Gilbert said. “And we look to her for everything.”
Heading into Wednesday night’s game against Ohio, Schrock was second in the Mid-American Conference in assists (6.11), third in assist/turnover ratio (1.49), 13th in steals (1.83), and 15th in scoring (12.7) and rebounding (5.7).
It’s also evident how important Schrock is to the team’s success by looking at minutes played. The junior was second in the MAC with 36.17 per game.
“Cassie is really our emotional leader,” Gilbert said. “She’s our team captain, she’s our floor leader – she’s really an extension of the coaches. As she goes, often goes the team. So, she’s a kid that can do a lot of things well.”
Schrock seems to understand her role well, as well as the roles of each player on the team.
“Coach always says, ‘You have to know who on your team does what,’ ” she said. “I just have to know everyone on the court, and what everyone does best.”
One aspect of her game that has improved has been her play at the point-guard position. Schrock’s first couple seasons at EMU had her playing shooting guard or small forward, with more point duties coming at the end of last season. Though admittedly, Schrock said it hasn’t been easy.
“It’s just a difficult position,” she said. “Because you take on, as coach Gilbert said, you’re the quarterback of the team. So I have to run everything. I go through (Gilbert) so I get the brunt of the yelling. I’m the captain, and it just comes with the territory. I’m still learning to be a better point guard.”
Gilbert agreed there has been a bit of a learning curve.
“She’s really struggling with playing the point guard position because that’s not her natural role,” Gilbert said. “And she says after every game, ‘It’s such a tough position to play.’ But she’s the best at it for us.”
One player who lauds Schrock’s impact is fellow guard Tavelyn James.
“She means a lot to the team,” James said. “She’s like the glue that sticks everyone together – that keeps us together. She’s a big leader, a very big leader.”
Schrock is glad to have James as her backcourt mate as it makes her job a bit easier.
“She’s a scorer,” she said. “She’s a true scorer. Every team needs one, and she’s ours. I just try to find her. I look to her a lot. A lot of my assists come from her.”
With the team performing well, Schrock is somewhat surprised but mostly pleased.
“I knew we could be very good, but I knew we were still young,” she said. “We were young last year. I knew we needed a little bit more experience. I don’t want to say I’m shocked, but I’m very happy where we’re at.”
With all the minutes played and being the only captain on the team, Schrock has been part of the foundation for the Eagles’ success.