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Regents women aim to keep climbing

Monday, November 16, 2009  
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By Jay Taft
Posted Nov 16, 2009 @ 03:30 PM

ROCKFORD — The Rockford College women’s basketball team will have to replace several key players who helped the Regents stay competitive during a season of growth in 2008-09.

Key dates

Tuesday: Season opener at St. Ambrose.
Nov. 28: Home and conference opener vs. Lakeland.
Dec. 12: On the road against Wis. Lutheran, which knocked RC out of the postseason last year.
Jan. 20: Host Edgewood, which edged Rockford in both meetings last year.
Feb. 20: NAC tourney beginsHowever, second-year head coach Jessica Stanek feels a rejuvenated post game and a new attitude will keep this year’s team on the rise.

“A big change is that we will have that post presence now, and that will open up a lot of things,” Stanek said. “And yes, this is one of those teams that will be diving all over the floor, and doing what it takes. That’s a mind set thing, and this team has it.”

Three players who graduated from last year’s team — 3-point specialist Kim Nielsen, slasher Amber Lee and point guard Tory Turman — accounted for 22.6 points and 14.8 rebounds a game. But Rockford’s leading scorer, 5-foot-8 sophomore guard Britney Curry (14.1 ppg), and a slew of other potential standouts are ready to pick up the pieces.

Former Boylan players Jessica Moore and Danielle Townsend and Melissa Swaziek, a junior from Harlem, all are expected to play significant roles on a team that’s already showing a rise in confidence.

“We’re going to be very competitive this year. I don’t see another 8-18 coming,” said Moore, the team’s 5-2 point guard. “It’s a competitive conference, and nothing will come easy, but we’re all looking for some big wins this year.

“We want to show we can compete with anybody.”

Townsend (5-11) and Swaziek (5-10), as well as the Lawler sisters — Megan (a 5-11 junior) and Nicole (a 5-10 freshman) — of Pearl City, are expected to help the Regents step up their play in the paint. Two six-footers — 6-1 sophomore Heather Goodrich and 6-0 freshman Erika McCall — also are expected to be in the mix down low.

Moore will be called upon to make it all click.

“Jess has to be able to handle the pressure this year,” Stanek said. “We’ll look to her on both ends of the floor.”

Rockford shot just 37 percent (557-for-1,493) from the floor last season, and 33 percent from the 3-point line (121-for-367). The Regents also will look to improve on the glass, where they were outrebounded by 7.8 per game.

“We’re hungry in every way. We don’t want to have another year like last year, and it’s a whole different atmosphere right now,” Townsend said. “We know we have to click and we have to play together, and we have to find that every day. We want to prove to the conference, to the community of Rockford and to our school that we can go out and get it done.”

The Regents open play Tuesday at St. Ambrose, and will play their first home game Nov. 28 against Lakeland.

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