If you want to know how the Memorial Sea-Hawks women’s basketball team will do this season, coach Doug Partridge says wait six games.
Partridge figures his team will finish in the top half of the eight-team conference, but he’ll have a better idea after a half dozen games.
“Our first six games should tell a lot,” Partridge said. “If we do well in them, then we are in the hunt for a (first-round) bye. If we struggle at all, we have work to do.”
The Sea-Hawks open the 2011-12 Atlantic University Sport (AUS) conference season six o’clock tonight against Saint Mary’s Huskies (8-12 last season) at the Field House. The teams play again 11 o’clock Sunday morning.
Pre-season results were encouraging for MUN.
Memorial won all three of its games at the Naismith Classic in Waterloo, Ont., where third-year post Ally Forsey was named tournament MVP.
The veteran MUN mentor said the recent tourney told him a few things about this year’s lineup.
“We seem to have better depth then a year ago. We can play more players and get more contributions. We are still trying to find a little more depth in our scoring which will be important, but it cannot come at a sacrifice to our defence,” he said.
“I believe that we have improved in several key areas,” said Partridge. “We handle the ball better and turn it over less. We play at better pace and we defend better as a team.
“These improvements will keep us in the top half of the league if we can continue that way for the whole year.”
Despite losing star point guard Brittany Dalton, Partridge believes he will be strong in that position this year.
“The loss of Brittany means we have a little less flexibility defensively and with our scoring in the back court, although Kim Devison and Robyn O’Rielly have really been stepping up.”
And, Partridge added, with the addition of Ontario natives Megan Robinson and Rebecca Amo-Menmsah, and with strong improved play by second-year Amanda Martret, “it means we have better point guard play then we had last year.”
Robinson is one player the MUN coach says the fans might want to check out.
“Although she’s not very big in stature (5-5), she is a very good and has been playing very good basketball.
“She will quickly become a fan favourite, I believe, because of how hard she plays,” Partridge predicted.
As far as the conference competition this season, Partridge says, “There are some new faces in the league and a couple teams — St. Francis Xavier and Dalhousie are very different. Other teams have the same go-to people in place. The league still has a good depth of talent and should be strong.”
Partridge’s two biggest concerns this season is his team’s scoring depth and “consistent” rebounding.
And as far as opening at home, Partridge smiles and says, “My old high school coach used to say, ‘Always open on the road ’cause that way, if you are no good, no one knows.’”