Last season, the Michigan women”s basketball team made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. A large part of this was due to the outstanding play of the team”s point guard, then senior co-captain Anne Thorius. But with Thorius now graduated, major changes will be in store for Michigan”s backcourt.
When it was all said and done, Thorius became Michigan”s first women”s basketball player to tally over 1,000 points and 500 assists. These numbers helped her earn Most Valuable Player honors last year. A versatile player, Thorius was also named Defensive Player of the Year last year as she led the team in steals with 48.
With the loss of such a great player, a question rises for the women”s basketball team: how do you replace a player like Anne Thorius?
One possible option the Wolverines have is to move senior co-captain Alayne Ingram from the shooting guard to the point guard position. This change will force Ingram to adjust to a pass first, shoot second mentality. It will also open up the shooting guard position for competition among the rest of the team. One player who may challenge for time is a freshman, blue chip recruit Tabitha Poole.
In Poole, Michigan landed arguably the best player coming out of Michigan high schools and one of the top five high school players in the nation last year. Poole a 6-foot-1 native of Ann Arbor has great versatility and can play either the guard or forward position.
“I think that obviously she has a tremendous amount of athleticism, she can handle the basketball, and shoot the three,” said Michigan coach Sue Guevara.
With her athleticism and ability, Poole has a very good chance of seeing many minutes this year. She may see limited action at the beginning of the season, but should find increasing amounts of time as she becomes acclimated to the Wolverines offense and style of play.
“She”s pretty special and I think she is going to make it very, very difficult for me to keep her off the floor,” said Guevara.
Poole has always been a star and has usually been counted on to lead her team. She was her high school”s leading scorer and one of the hardest working players on the team. This season, however, she will not be the only player with star potential and does not need to feel pressured to carry the team. Despite the leap from high school to college, Poole is confident she can play an important role on the team.
“I feel I can, I just have to keep working hard,” Poole said.
For several weeks, the team has been participating in intense conditioning to prepare for the upcoming season. As a freshman, Poole is experiencing athletics on the collegiate level for the first time. But she and the other freshman have not be intimidated by the intense workouts.
“It was shocking, it was hard, but we all pushed through it,” freshman guard Sierra Hauser-Price said.
Although she was a track athlete, Hauser-Price admitted that she had never run as much in her life as she did in conditioning this fall. Hauser-Price is another freshman guard that could challenge for minutes on the court. While not as highly touted as Poole, Hauser-Price is a solid athlete whose quickness will be one of her greatest assets on the court.
“I can push the ball fast and get it to people on fast breaks and I think that is a key quality on this level,” Hauser-Price said.