The Wittenberg women’s basketball team is as young as they come, but it’s also experienced.
The three sophomores in the starting lineup — guards Enri Small and Amber Lara and wing Katelyn Haralamos — started a year ago and helped lead the team to a 14-12 record. The only two seniors on the team will also start: post Kim Replogle and wing Sarah Skidmore.
Coach Sarah Jurewicz hopes that combination of youth and experience gives the team a chance to challenge DePauw and Denison, the only two teams picked ahead of Wittenberg in the North Coast Athletic Conference preseason poll. The Tigers were picked to tie for third with Kenyon.
“We have a pretty solid core coming back,” said Jurewicz, who is 74-57 after five seasons. “It’s clear they put in time in the offseason, and they want to elevate their roles. I feel really good about us making strides forward this season, winning more games and doing better in the conference.”
The team graduated two of its top post players: leading scorer Sarah Watson (13.1 points per game) and fourth-leading scorer Lyndsey Clark (9.1).
Six of the top eight scorers return: Small (10.4), Haralamos (9.7), Replogle (8.7), Southeastern grad Amber Rice (5.9), Lara (5.5) and Skidmore (2.3). Those players, plus sophomore guard Darbie Zirkle (a Graham grad), sophomore wing Heather Schroeder and sophomore post Karen Daniel-Hamberg, make up the rotation as the Tigers begin the season today with an 8 p.m. game against Transylvania at the Hanover Tip-Off Tournament.
Small was one of the NCAC’s top freshman a year ago.
“Enri is kind of the energy of the team,” Jurewicz said. “She rebounds and hustles on defense, and she can attack the paint. She can hit an open jumper. She does all the little things, on top of doing the big things well.”
Lara started 21 games, the most of any freshman, at point guard last season.
“She has a great demeanor about her,” Jurewicz said. “She’s very level-headed. I trust her to make the right calls in our offensive flow.”
Haralamos scored in double figures in six of the last nine games and topped 20 points twice last season.
“We’re having her move to the four. She was playing wing last year,” Jurewicz said. “She proved she has the ability to catch and shoot from the perimeter, but she can also attack the basket. She has a great touch. That creates matchup problems for her defenders.”
The emotional leader of the team is Replogle, who is the team’s top returning rebounder (5.4).
“Kim is our most steady player in the post right now,” Jurewicz said. “She’s really expanded her versatility. She can attack from the perimeter and hit the outside jumper.”