The women’s basketball team lost a lot to graduation last season, as the team will be without two of their top three rebounders: Kelly Ricketts ‘12 and Krystyna Williams ‘12. In addition to them, Knox lost a third player from last season’s top five scorers from last season: Abby Owens ‘12.
The Prairie Fire will be entering their second season using “the system” under head coach Emily Cline, meaning that the players on the squad should become more accustomed to the high pressure, three-point-shooting style this winter.
With emphasis on three point shooting, Knox is going to need some players to step up. Sophomore Jodi Marver and junior Chantal Heckman are the top sharpshooters returning for the Prairie Fire, and both are going to need to increase production if the team is going to find success.
On a similar note, the main returning ball-handlers senior Kristin McDonald and sophomore Becky Duffy will play key roles in determining whether Knox can win the turnover battle.
Inside, Knox looks to rely on senior Sara Johnson for energy and production on the glass. Johnson was second on the team in rebounding last season, while also leading the team in free throw percentage (80 percent).
Knox also will rely on some fresh faces for production. Transfer sophomore Jessica Howard returns to her hometown of Galesburg after spending one season playing for Monmouth College. Howard, who holds the Illinois high school record for three-pointers made in a season, should fit nicely into the Knox offense.
Knox’s success in Midwest Conference play truly depends on how big of a step the team can make in their efficiency within the system. Last season, the Prairie Fire did not shoot well enough from three-point range and had too many turnovers to make up for the easy buckets the system tends to give up.