“I think our returners got a taste of what it’s like to play at that level, get to that point of the season, and they really enjoyed it,” second-year head coach Tanya Haave said. “I think they were pretty motivated this summer. I think we’ve had a good preseason. I’d like us to reach our potential.”
Thanks to their team unity, the Roadrunners finished last season 30-3, a school record. Led by seniors Cassondra Bratton, who’s now an assistant coach, and Tawny Drexler, Metro thrived over the course of last season.
Now that Bratton and Drexler no longer play in Roadrunner uniforms, Metro has some new faces to complement their nucleus from last year.
That nucleus lost to Shaw University (N.C.) in the Elite Eight at the buzzer 46-45 to end the 2010-2011 season.
“We fell a little short last year,” senior guard Alyssa Benson said. “We kind of expected to win that game [against Shaw], but we have a great crew this year. Our expectations are to go all the way.”
New recruits include junior center Desiree Collins, a De Anza College transfer and San Jose, Calif. native. Collins brings rebounding and defense, including shot blocking.
“I’m really excited,” Collins said. “I can’t wait to pick up where (the team) left off last year. I play with my heart, lots of hustle.”
Metro also recruited senior forward/center Caley Dow, who comes from the University of Colorado.
“She had three years of playing in the ‘Big XII.’ She’s going to bring experience and skill in the post,” said Haave, who noted Dow’s 6-foot-2 frame will help Metro.
The Roadrunners also recruited a pair of guards. Jordan Arguello, a 2010 Longmont High School graduate, who redshirted last season at William Penn University.
The Runners also recruited forward Jenessa Burke. Burke, a 2009 Highlands Ranch High School graduate, is a proven scorer and is effective on the boards. According to gometrostate.com, she averaged 18 points and nine rebounds per game her senior season with the Falcons.
“She just needs to adapt to the college game,” Haave said about Burke. “But, she’s very talented.”
According to Haave, Metro has more depth and experience this season. They’ll be put to the test in Texas, where they’ll face Lubbock Christian University and NCAA Division I powerhouse Texas Tech University Nov. 5 and 6 in exhibition play.
“I think we’ll give them a good challenge. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain from it,” senior guard Candice Kohn, a Texas native, said about the game at Texas Tech. “All of our players play inside and outside. So, we have more diversity. That’s going to be very beneficial.”
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