Less than two years ago the team was celebrating a school record season. While the following season's team couldn't keep that momentum going because of a variety of injuries and starting line-ups, there is reason to believe again.
The Caltech women's basketball will rely heavily on a group of returning players in an effort to get the program back to recent success.
Paige Logan returns for her second season of Beaver basketball after leading the team in scoring (10.0 ppg) and rebounding (8.2 rpg) last year. During her first year on campus she started 12 of the 21 contests she played in. The native of Los Altos, Calif., is expected to see her playing time increase as Caltech will look to her in the low post.
Senior Theresa Juarez is the Beavers do everything player. She started in all but one game last season while averaging just under 30 minutes of court time in those contests. One of this seasons co-captains, Juarez was the team's second leading rebounder (6.9 rpg) while scoring over 100 points for the third consecutive season during the 2010-11 campaign.
"Our low post game will be focused on getting Theresa and Paige the ball as much as possible. Paige is poised for a break-out season and Theresa battles hard underneath the hoop even though she an undersized forward," ninth year head coach Sandra Marbut said.
Another key returning player is shooting guard Sarah Wright. One of the better natural athletes on the squad, the junior came to Caltech expecting to compete as only a soccer athlete. However, as a tri-sport student-athlete (Wright is also a member of the track & field squad) she is now the co-captain of the basketball squad and has started over half of the 45 games she has been apart at Caltech.
The Beaver also expect to get points from the guard position from sophomores Marlyn Moore and Rachel Hess. Before an injury sidelined her for the last four weeks of the season, Moore was second on the team in three-pointers made en route to scoring 5.5 points a game. Hess, one of only four players to play in all 25 games last season, will be looked upon to help generate the Beavers offense from the point and shooting guard positions.
"If we can get the ball to Sarah with room to shoot, she can be a very effective scorer for this squad," Marbut said. "Marlyn and Rachel will be extreme vital to our success. They each have the versatility to play either guard spot and we'll need that as we mix and match our five players on the court."
Shannon Mohler has come off the bench during all three of her seasons at Caltech. While she is expected to be a role player once again, the senior could play more minutes in her final season with the program.
A host of sophomores will come off the bench during their second season with the squad. Susan Ballentine played in over half of the games last year while Tiffany Huang and Garima Gupta will provide valuable minutes at the guard positions.
"Tiffany did a tremendous amount of work over the summer and I expect we will see her in the rotation more this year," Marbut said.
Bridget Connor is the only first year player on the squad this season. The native of Albuquerque, N.M. helped her high school team to a top 10 state 4A ranking her senior year.
"I expect Bridget to be a sporadic starter and playing lots of minutes. She goes to the basket well and can hit both mid-range and long jumpers," Marbut said of her lone first year player.
"We don't have the luxury of a large team this year so we are going to need everyone step into a variety of roles they may not be used to. However, if each player remains teachable and works hard till the seasons end it will be a successful year," Marbut said. "After a few practices the early signs point to a very hard working team."