Nov 032004
Authors: Bob Fernandez

The days are getting shorter, the snow is beginning to fall and

winter is approaching and it all means one thing: basketball season

is here.

With the women’s basketball team’s Nov. 19 regular-season opener

rapidly approaching, sophomore guard/forward Kylee O’Dwyer and her

teammates are ready to go.

“Overall, I am very excited for this season,” O’Dwyer said. “I

think that our team is tougher mentally and physically. If we

continue to work hard and stick together, we are going to

accomplish a lot of great things this year.”

CSU will start the new season with several new faces. Among

these is assistant coach Marcy Myers, who replaced Krista Poehler

after Poehler took an assistant coaching position at San Diego

State. Myers played one year of basketball at Dickinson State in

North Dakota before graduating in 2001. She then spent time as an

assistant basketball and volleyball coach at Chadron State in

Chadron, Neb., before coming to CSU. Myers is adapting to the

coaching system of head coach Chris Denker, but so far she has been

impressed with the program.

“There are several things that worked well for me at Chadron,

but Chris’s program is so well-thought out and organized that I am

learning from him,” Myers said. “He has one of the best-organized

practices that I have ever been a part of.”

Myers said she hopes to have a significant impact on CSU’s

defensive schemes.

“I am looking to contribute in every way possible, (but) my

strengths are definitely on the defensive side,” Myers said.

Also joining the Rams is new Director of Basketball Operations

Ryan Johnson. He is responsible for coordinating team camps and

also helps coach the team.

O’Dwyer said the new coaches have had no problems meshing with

the rest of the team and have done an effective job of asserting

themselves so far.

“I think that having two new coaches is really exciting,”

O’Dwyer said. “They have really just jumped right in. They are also

not afraid to get on us or tell us to get after it, which also

helps too, so that we, as a team, are not just slacking off and

having them just watch it happen.”

The Rams also added five new players. Freshman guard Sara Hunter

is a Fort Collins native who played basketball at Rocky Mountain

High School. Last year she was named Northern Conference Player of

the Year and has earned all-state honors twice and all-conference

honors during each of her four years.

Freshman forward Casie Shepherd is a graduate of Prior Lake High

School in Prior Lake, Minn. While attending Prior Lake, Shepherd

helped lead her team to two Minnesota Conference championships,

while earning all-conference honors three times and all-state

honors once.

In addition to the new freshmen, the Rams also added three

transfers: sophomores Brianna Willhite and Liz Kramer, and junior

Justine Square.

Willhite and Kramer both transferred to CSU after playing

together at Cloud County Community College in Concordia, Kan.

Square is a transfer from Otero Junior College in La Junta.

“Sara Hunter and Liz Kramer are doing very well at the guard

spot and will play a lot for us,” Denker said.

The Rams are coming off last year where they finished with a

record of 17-12, took fourth in the Mountain West Conference and

qualified for the WNIT tournament for the second straight year.

“As for goals, we have two major ones: win conference and go to

the NCAAs,” Denker said. “The team worked harder than they ever

have in the preseason and summer. Weightlifting and conditioning

was great.”

O’Dwyer said she believes that reaching the NCAA tournament is a

realistic goal.

“I think that this team can go far,” she said. “Obviously, (the)

NCAA tournament is the goal, and it is not a far-fetched one.”

The Rams will see their first action this Friday at Moby Arena

against Western State in a home exhibition game. They will begin

their regular season on Nov. 19 against San Francisco, which will

also be on a home game.

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