Five fresh faces added to women’s basketball

File photo by Ryan Hueglin.

File photo by Ryan Hueglin.

With the sound of bronze still ringing freshly in their ears from the previous season, the Wilfrid Laurier University women’s basketball team looked to refurbish their roster by adding five new recruits.

Last year’s successful season was led by four veteran players who took them all the way to nationals. Those four — Doreen Bonsu, Bree Chaput, Laura Doyle and Kim Yeldon — have retired their uniforms and made way for a new class of players who will help shape the next four years of basketball at Laurier.

After losing so many assets on the court this year, bringing in top talent was especially important to coach Paul Falco this year.

“It definitely was important to bring in a good class, because of the leadership we are going to lose. Those four girls were with us for four years and it’s going to be hard to replace,” he said.

It would have been almost impossible to find exact duplicates of the players lost last season, so these new recruits are giving the team a different look.

6-foot guard Lauren Jamieson of Oakville and 5-foot-5 guard Amanda Milanis of Windsor are the new faces in the backcourt. They will try to help fill the holes this season left by Chaput, Doyle and Bonsu, with the help of some returning veterans. However according to Coach Falco, he’s hoping these guards will take the team in a new direction.

“You look a couple years down the road, and we wanted to get a little bit taller and stronger at the guard position. Additionally, Amanda is sort of a true point guard as well so she’ll be able to do that, especially after we lose Lee Anna [Osei] after this season,” he said.

Rounding out the recruits in the frontcourt are 6-foot-1 Elisha Suderman of London, 6-foot forward Melissa Pare of Windsor and 6-foot-1 Kendra Seto of Oshawa.

Pare was honoured as a WECSSAA first team all-star and Suderman reached OFSAA finals twice in high school.

Four of the recruits are just beginning their university athletic careers, however one is seeing hers come to a close.

Seto is transferring to Laurier from the University of Michigan, where she played in the NCAA. She played two years there and two years at the University of Vermont, participating in the NCAA tournament twice. She brings an enormous amount of experience to the team, but will be faced with a learning curve, as Falco explained.

“I think Kendra will definitely help. I think we have to wait and see just how much” he said. “It is going to be an adjustment for her in terms of playing in a new league with a bunch of new players,” he said

The women’s basketball formula has been players who bring a mix of the right character as well as academic motivation to be successful student athletes, and Falco believes that with some time, these girls will fit right in.

“I’m sure there will be some bumps along the road like there is with every new player, but I think that the five girls that we are bringing in are quality people and good students, and I think they will fit in very well,” he said.

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