THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – With all the pieces in place, the 2012-13 Cal Lutheran women’s basketball team is poised to go above and beyond their record-setting year in 2011-12. The Regals return seven seniors and three other letter-winners from a team that made the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Tournament after winning its first SCIAC Post Tournament Championship in school history.
Head coach Roy Dow returns for his fifth season at the helm of the Regals program after leading CLU to the first NCAA tournament berth since 2006.
Dow returns his top two leading scorers from a year ago in Erica Whitely and Channing Fleischman.
Whitley, a 5-9 guard and First-Team All SCIAC selection a year ago, returns after averaging over nine points a game last season. The senior guard led the team in rebounding, averaging nearly seven a game while also leading the team in steals.
Fleischman, a 5-11 senior forward from Reno, Nev. was the Regals top scorer and second leading rebounder last year, averaging over ten points a game while pulling down more than six rebounds a game. Not limited to just an inside game, Fleischman also knocked down 30 three-pointers last season. Fleischman also finished fifth in the SCIAC in free-throw percentage and 11th in blocked shots en route to being named Second Team All-SCIAC.
Cal Lutheran also returns five other seniors with significant playing experience.
After missing much of the first half of the season, CLU hopes 5-10 senior swing-player Starla Wright will conclude her career in strong fashion after garnering First Team All-West Region honors and First Team All-SCIAC teams in both 2011 and 2010.
Senior Jazmyne Porter looks to expand to her role in 2012 after being one of the first players off the bench a year ago. Porter made the most of her time on the court as averaging nearly eight points game despite making only eight starts. The transfer from Long Beach State was also second on the team, shooting nearly 40 percent from the field while connecting on 74 percent of her free throws.
6-1 forward Rachel Heagy will provide the Regals inside presence this season. The senior from San Mateo, Calif. played in all 28 games last season averaging four points and nearly four rebounds per game.
Senior point guard Alex Nelson steps in as after the graduation of Meaghan Goodenough. Playing in all but two games a year ago, Nelson pulled down 31 total rebounds and dished out 19 assists.
At 5-10, senior Taylor Autry can play a number of positions on the court and looks to bolster the Regals perimeter shooting after sinking all four three-pointers she attempted last season.
Pia Gudmundsen and Sabrina Jimenez are the only juniors on the CLU roster and look to provide experience and leadership in 2012.
A trio of sophomores return as Keeley Anderson leads the way, playing in 19 games last year including one start, while averaging almost four points and three rebounds a game. The Orange, Calif. native also sunk 17 three-pointers a year ago and made all seven free-throws she attempted.
Fellow second year players Ashley Garcia and Natalie Stone look to gain experience in 2012.
Just one freshman will suit up for the Regals this year but 5-10 combo guard Alex Brunansky is expected to compete and contribute right away.
CLU starts the season with the Posada Royale Thanksgiving Classic Nov. 23-24 and will face Carleton (Minn.) and George Fox (Ore.). The Regals begin the quest in defending their SCIAC championship December 1, when they take on Caltech in Gilbert Arena at 7:30 p.m.