Women's Basketball 2012 Season Outlook
First year head coach Tiffany Silver is looking to turn the tide around for the Wilmington University women’s basketball team and is excited to get the season underway with her first head coaching job.
“I’m eager to see what I’m up against in the CACC (Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference),” Silver, who came to Wilmington after a brief assistant gig at NCAA Division III’s Johns Hopkins, said. “The first half of the conference season is going to be a learning curve for me and the team. Even the first half of games is going to be a learning curve. Our halftime talks are going to be very important this year.”
Silver inherits a team that returns five letterwinners from a season ago and brought in seven newcomers. Two starters, Lauren Brown and Megan Fox, also return to the lineup from the Wildcats that went 2-22 and 1-18 in the CACC last year.
Also new to the program is Silver’s assistant coach Mary Rotimi who comes to Wilmington with multiple years of experience in coaching and athletics. She is currently the head women’s volleyball coach at Manor College outside of Philadelphia and was most recently the eighth grade girls’ basketball coach at Bala Cynwyd Middle School during the 2011-12 season.
From 2008-10, Rotimi was the head coach of the women’s basketball and volleyball teams at Delaware Country Community College where she recruited, trained and coached members of both squads. She then moved on to be an intern to the Athletic Director at DCCC for the 2011 academic school year. She helped with game management and site supervisions during all athletic events, as well as monitor student academic eligibility.
Returning to the staff for his fifth season on the bench is Colin Smith who will help acclimate Silver and Rotimi to the CACC and the region.
“It feels like we have been working together for more than the three month we have been together,” Silver said of her coaching staff. “We have great chemistry already on and off the court. Mary has helped with the post players and I have already seen a major improvement among our bigs. Colin brings a wealth of knowledge to the table and his enthusiasm of wanting to win and turn this program around is overwhelming.”
With the guard loaded roster, Silver is going to run an uptempo style game and turn the Wildcats height disadvantage into an advantage they can use. Much like the NCAA Division I men’s team of Villanova University that made deep runs in the NCAA Tournament, the Wildcats are going to utilize a four guard mentality to counteract the lack of height. Depth will be key in an attempt to get fresh legs on the court with the high pace style.
Returners Brown and Fox are joined by Cari Callaway, Amanda Walters, and Kathryn Franklin from last year’s squad. Callaway returns as the team’s top scorer, scoring 7.0 points per game in 17 starts and 21 games. Brown scored 4.7 points per game while passing out a team high 33 assists on the season.
Silver brought in seven newcomers to the team, utilizing her wealth of knowledge in the Baltimore, Md. area to bring in two from her area. Tenicia Spence will look to carry a bulk of the scoring load for the Wildcats while Taylor Carter will be one of the firsts off the bench and take over the point guard play.
Freshman Tiaja Harrold will also see a bulk of the playing time as a guard while Auryonah Nash, Danielle Carter, and Callie Tambling will all add depth at the guard position and play pressure defense and get out and run for Silver.
Tashea Plummer will anchor underneath the basket for the Wildcats, acting as the lone traditional low post player. Coming off a preseason injury, Allison McDonald will challenge for a starting forward position during the season when healthy. Walters and Franklin also add depth to the low post and will challenge for playing time as the season moves along.
“The most important thing for me this year is to get these girls to think like winners and to compete on a nightly basis,” Silver said of her team’s expectations. “We don’t and cannot be an automatic notch in the win column for other teams, and our girls need to understand that.”