2009-10 Indiana Women's Basketball Season Preview
Oct. 19, 2009
By IUHoosiers.com contributor Jeremy Gray
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The Indiana women's basketball program enters the 2009-10 campaign with one of the youngest and most athletic teams in the program's history. Despite their youth, the 2009-10 Hoosiers boast one of the most dynamic scoring combinations in the Big Ten, athleticism around the perimeter, a solid supporting cast, a sprinkling of talented freshmen, and a head coach who has enjoyed unprecedented success in her first three seasons in Bloomington. Despite their youth, the Hoosiers believe that they have the talent and determination to make another trip to a postseason tournament in 2009-10.
The aforementioned scoring combination is comprised of senior guard Jamie Braun and junior forward Jori Davis. Braun is an ambidextrous sharpshooter who can play both guard positions, rebound exceptionally well for her position, finish with both hands, connect from 3-point range, and defend three of the five positions on the floor. Davis is an electrifying scorer who is adept at breaking down larger opponents off the dribble, while also possessing the skill set to post up smaller defenders.
Both Braun and Davis flourished in the Big Ten in 2008-09 and are looking lead the Hoosiers to the program's second consecutive 20-win season.
Last season, Braun averaged 12.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. She was named second team All-Big Ten by the league's coaches and garnered third team honors from the league's media. Her brilliant junior season was not an aberration. As a sophomore, she averaged 14.5 points per game and was a second team All-Big Ten honoree. In her freshman campaign, she was named Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year. And now in her senior season, her scoring prowess will be freed from the constraints of having to play point guard. Making the switch to shooting guard will allow the Marshfield, Wis., native to slash from the wings and work off screens to get open looks from beyond the arc. The 2009-10 Indiana women's basketball season looks to be a very special one for Braun.
Davis is coming off of a breakout sophomore effort, where as the season progressed she became Indiana's most devastating scoring option. Late in the 2008-09 season, Davis dropped a career high 25 points on Northwestern, a healthy 17 against Ohio State, 19 against Michigan State, and scorched Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament for 22. Davis heads into the upcoming season as a true All-Big Ten candidate and easily ranks as one of the most exciting players in the conference.
But as the Hoosiers embark on the upcoming season, Braun and Davis will not have to go it alone.
Sophomore Sasha Chaplin looks to make a huge impact as one of Indiana's primary low post scorers and defenders. At 6-3, Chaplin boasts a deft shooting touch, deceptive quickness, and the length that Indiana has lacked on defense the last several seasons. Her promising freshman season was cut short due to an ACL injury early in the season, but had outstanding performances against Radford, Missouri, and Ball State. Against Radford, the ever smiling Floridian posted 10 points, four rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot. In limited action against Missouri, `Big Sash' pulled down seven rebounds and six points. And against Ball State, Chaplin scored 11 points in just 13 minutes. A 6-3 shot blocker with nice post moves, Chaplin could emerge as a star in her sophomore season.
In the back court, Whitney Lindsay looks to play significant minutes at point guard. Lightning quick, Lindsay is capable of being one of the best on-the-ball defenders in the Big Ten. As a sophomore, Lindsay recorded several multi-steal performances including a four steal effort against Illinois on Jan. 25. Her shooting touch showed demonstrable improvement last season and few point guards can match her quickness.
Showstopper Ashlee Mells will also see minutes at point guard in 2009-10. Known for her `no-look' passes and high arching jumpers, Mells has the potential to be a major spark off of the bench for Indiana in the upcoming season. Mells netted a career high nine points last season against Michigan State on Feb. 12.
Aiding Chaplin on the front court will be sophomore Danilsa Andujar. The 6-2 Florida product saw limited action as a freshman, but impressed during Indiana's foreign tour of Italy last May. Her strength has improved and she looks to give Indiana a much needed physical presence in the paint this season.
One of Indiana's most versatile and energetic returners is sophomore Lindsay Enterline. A scrappy defender, a solid shooter, and tireless worker, Enterline scored a career high six points against Northwestern last season and started in a Big Ten contest against Wisconsin last season on Jan. 15. Despite suffering a season-ending injury during the preseason, Enterline will serve a key role as another great basketball mind on the Hoosier bench.
A player who can play solid minutes at either shooting guard or small forward is Andrea McGuirt. The 5-9 Atlanta product possesses a nice touch from 3-point range and can play suffocating defense in pressing situations. The former McDonald's All-American nominee has the strength and quickness to be a key defender off of the bench this year for Indiana.
Head coach Felisha Legette-Jack buttressed this talented group of returners with a solid and versatile group of newcomers.
A player who should make an immediate impact up front will be Vincennes transfer Hope Elam. The 6-1 junior was named a NJCAA First Team All-American at VU and was ranked eighth nationally in scoring with 21.2 points per game. She was also ranked fifth in the country in rebounding by pulling down 11 rebounds per contest. Elam could see significant minutes right away for the Hoosiers and will help replace the loss of standouts Whitney Thomas and Amber Jackson due to graduation.
One of the most intriguing newcomers is Delray Beach, Fla., native Sasha Bernard. The 5-6 point guard was a McDonalds All-American nominee and possesses remarkable strength and court vision and looks to see action early in the year for the Hoosiers. Forward Aulani Sinclair arrives on campus with a sterling high school resume. She was an Indiana All-Star who averaged 26.1 points, 14.4 rebounds, 4.4 blocked shots and 4.5 steals per game in four seasons at Eminence High School. At 6-1, she provided Indiana with another much needed low post scoring option.
Jasmine Davis rounds out Indiana's outstanding freshman class with a list of high school accomplishments that rival Sinclair's. The 6-2, Metropolis, Ill., native recorded 1,384 points and 868 rebounds during her high school career and she earned Associated Press, Illinois Basketball Coaches Association First Team All-State honors as a senior. With her size and strength in the low post, Davis could make an immediate impact for this young and talented Indiana team.
Check back soon