Commentary: Eagles display mix of veterans, youth
If you were to ask me to give you one good reason to pay attention to the women’s basketball team, I would have no hesitation in telling you that it’s the roster.
This is a team comprised of developed upperclassmen and talented underclassmen that make every game exciting to watch.
Eastern was 4-2 going into Wednesday’s game at University of Missouri, Kansas City.
It starts with senior guard Cassie Schrock. Schrock came in as a forward who had no experience at the point-guard position. She has become what coach AnnMarie Gilbert describes as “the glue to this team.”
That is one of the many reasons Schrock stands as the captain of the Eagles. She started in each of the team’s 31 contests last season and averaged 12.6 points, 5.5 assists, and 5.1 rebounds.Moving down the list you will come across junior guard Tavelyn James. James came in with a lot of talent, and in her time with EMU she has become a leader and offensive weapon. She has been a starter since her freshman season and her average of 20.7 landed her on the first-team All Mid-American Conference. James holds the record for single-game scoring at EMU after she posted 40 points twice last season in contests against Toledo and Buffalo.
For power inside the post you will want to turn to senior Kristin Thomas and junior Paige Redditt. Thomas started in 27 of 31 games last season and posted an average of 2.6 points and 6.7 rebounds. She led the team in offensive (84) and defensive (124) rebounds on the season and was second in blocks with 33. Coming in second place to Thomas on the team for rebounds was Redditt, who grabbed 186 last season. She was also ranked 10th in the MAC for blocked shots with 31.
With all of the previously mentioned players leaving in the next two years, most teams would be worried about who they will be able to rely on in the following years; not this one. During the off-season the Eagles acquired four freshmen whom Gilbert has coined as “The Fabulous Four.” The roster of freshmen consists of one true guard, two forwards and a player who will be used as a guard and forward. Each of them has earned minutes this season.
Forward Olivia Fouty had played in every game going into Wednesday, posting 16 rebounds and 20 points. Guard Desyree Thomas had also made an appearance in each of the contests this season. She had totaled five points, four assists and seven steals. Guard/ forward Natachia Watkins had played in every contest and totaled three points, one assist, two steals and seven rebounds. The fourth, Sarah Stone, had played in two of the team’s contest and gotten one steal.
The Eagles are a group of talented players, and each of them is expected to have an impact on the team in her own way. The talent is evenly dispersed between the experienced upperclassmen and the powerful, energetic underclassmen. The balance that this team posseses will sustain them as a team that hauls in MAC awards and titles for years to come.