SLCC Women’s Basketball Head Coach Betsy Specketer begins her 17th season with the College on Nov. 2, with an overhauled roster and lots of work on the horizon. And that’s exactly the way she likes it.
“We’ll have our work cut out for us for a little while, but that’s part of the excitement of being at a junior college,” said Specketer, who has led the Bruins to 360 wins in her career. “The roster turnover is so fast at this level, and you practically have a brand new team every single year.”
- 11/8-10 SLCC Tournament TBA
- 11/23-24 Thanksgiving Classic TBA
- 12/15 Snow College 3 p.m.
- 1/3 North Idaho 5:30 p.m.
- 1/5 Southern Idaho 3 p.m.
- 1/31 Colorado NW 5:30 p.m.
- 2/2 USU-Eastern 3 p.m.
- 2/9 Snow College 3 p.m.
- 2/14 Southern Idaho 5:30 p.m.
- 2/16 North Idaho 3 p.m.
The Bruins return just three sophomores from last year’s Region 18 Runner-Up team. Coach Specketer and the SLCC Women came up just short against in-state rival Snow College in the Region 18 Championship Game, losing 60-57 and finishing the year with an 18-13 overall record.
Experienced point guard Diamond Marchand and forwards Haley Sturdevant and Jessica Watson return for the Bruins, with two new transfer students entering the picture as well.
5-foot-8 guard Katie Richens joins the Bruins after one year playing alongside former Bruin great and 2010 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Scoring Champion Haley Holmstead at the University of Alaska-Anchorage.
Salt Lake recently got better at the center position with the addition of 6-foot-4 Rachel Morris, who played in 27 games in the highly regarded Pacific-12 Conference (PAC-12) last year for the University of Utah.
“I think those two are really going to help us, because we’re somewhat thin in terms of returning sophomores,” said Specketer. “Rather than having just three come back, it’s as if we have five, because that one year of experience at the college level is really a big thing.”
The Bruins will have lots of new faces on the roster for the 2012-13 campaign, and Specketer is confident that the nine freshmen that make up the majority of the Salt Lake roster will be key contributors.
“I really feel like we got the best crop, especially out of the Utah graduating high school seniors that were out there,” said Specketer. “We want the upper echelon of players, that’s always our goal, and I feel like we accomplished that.”
Freshman guards Mercedes Riggs and Lizzy Harrison are among the newcomers that the SLCC coaching staff is excited about. Riggs comes to the College from Timpanogos High School, and Harrison, who will also spend time at the forward position, joins the Bruins from England, hailing from Oaklands Basketball Academy in Suffolk, UK.
Both are athletic additions and Specketer believes that they will add some much needed height and jump shooting to the Bruin guard line. Riggs stands at 5-foot-7 and Harrison at 5-foot-11.
The lineup isn’t the only thing that may see changes for the Bruins this season. Coach Specketer is known as an old-school coach who favors the half-court game on offense and player-to-player defense, but she’s not unwilling to try new things as is evidenced by last year’s up-tempo play style.
“It’s no secret that last year we didn’t shoot the ball very well from the perimeter. We had athletes though, so we decided to loosen the reins a bit and let them go try to score in transition,” said Specketer. “This year, I don’t know. I do know that we’ve got kids who have shown us they can shoot the three.”
Specketer has desired for some time now to use more pressure defense to force the opposition into turnovers and mistakes, but has been limited in terms of having the depth to do so. This year, she just might have the players at her disposal to see that happen.
“I truly do feel like this year we have the athletes to extend our defense. I’d like to throw a zone press out there, to throw a half-court trap,” said Specketer. “I always say it every year—yes, we’re going to extend a bit more defensively or do some things differently on the defensive end, but this year, I’m going to do it.”
Perhaps every bit as important as skill for this year’s team is grit. Specketer feels that the 2011-12 squad was talented and fun to watch, but believes that this year’s bunch has more competitive fire.
“This group is a little more focused in the weight room, it matters a little bit more and they work a little bit harder,” said Specketer. “Even in pickup games, they don’t like to lose. I want this to matter to them, and I want them to want to win every single game that they ever play.”
The first competitive action of the year for the Bruins takes place during the SLCC Jamboree, on Oct. 19 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. A host of teams will be in attendance for some preseason college basketball, and students are welcome spectators at the event.
Salt Lake will play several preseason games before beginning SWAC play on Dec. 15 in a rematch of last year’s Region 18 title game against in-state rival Snow College. SLCC’s schedule is favorable this season, with NIC, Snow, and heated rival College of Southern Idaho all playing two of their three SWAC matchups with the Bruins here at the Taylorsville Redwood Campus.
SLCC plays home basketball games at Bruin Arena inside the Lifetime Activities Center. Fans can check schedules, stats, watch video of the Bruins in action and more at slccbruins.com, and students are admitted to home games free of charge with a valid OneCard. Home games are broadcast live on SLCCTV (Comcast 17 or at slcctv.com) and on Radio SLCC at radio.slcc.edu.