Seemann Among A Host Of Wolves Making ACAC Post-Season Debut
By JEFF KORENKO
She will not be alone.
The opportunity to play in her first ever college post-season game tonight presents quite the positive conundrum for GPRC Wolves forward Jen Seemann.
The team's fourth-year forward, captain and leading scorer is one of 14 players on the Wolves roster who will make their ACAC women's basketball playoff debut in Game 1 of a quarter-final series against the SAIT Trojans.
But Seemann shrugged off any suggestion the fact she is a veteran will equate to her having to assume any added responsibility in ensuring the
A team that won 17 of 24 regular-season games to finish second in the North Division did so through a team-first mentality, she said, and she is buoyed with the confidence that will continue tonight, when the best-of-three series gets started at 7 p.m. at the college gym.
"I am not the difference; I have been here for four years. It's the new talent that (head coach) Mark (Catling) has brought in. They have changed the face of our team. Our rookies are so composed for the amount of experience they have. They are talented and they have worked hard," Seemann said of the first Wolves women's hoops squad in five years to have qualified for the playoffs.
Seemann's shining performance this season - she finished third in the North in total points with 365, fourth in points per game at 15.2, second with 175 rebounds and fourth with 14 blocks - stands out, but it was the team buying into Catling's use of a new-found depth and responding on the court that played the biggest factor, Seemann said.
After three losing seasons, she feels like the pressure has been taken off her and it has made her a more complete player.
"There is much more of a team mentality and I think it has been so much more fun for everybody. I don't feel pressure like I have to go out there and get 30 points. I just feel like I have to keep being a good leader and work at keeping everybody focused."
A quick glance at the Wolves' regular-season lends credence to Seemann's insight.
The squad's roster was comprised of seven first-year players entering the season, and eight of the 15 have scored more than 100 points.
Erin Slemp, who was part of the Concordia University College Eagles team that won a national title in 2005, is the only Wolf to have dressed for a playoff game.
Catling's 'we can go deep into our bench because of our athleticism' philosophy has paid off and he sees no reason why that won't continue to
work this weekend.
"We have preached the same things this week we have preached all year. We have to play as a team. No one player is going to win this series for us. We have to have a total team effort. Our depth will be quite evident this weekend," said Catling.
"We will continue to play eight or nine players and just keep rolling them over.
"If they want to key on Jen, we have other post players. Leah MacNeil is playing well and Laura (Dunsdon) has played exceptionally well all year."
Not only that, but led by rookie Jaelle Duinker's 10 points per game, the Wolves have used no fewer than five players at guard without missing a beat, getting balanced scoring from the likes of Slemp, Erica Rude and Melanie Patterson.
"We still look to ... Jen and Jaelle, to give us that lift, but we are confident that if one or both of them don't have their best outings, that
others can pick them up," said Catling.
The Trojans come into the series having finished third in the South Division with a 13-7 record.
Led by their top points-per-game scorer Jaclyn Krucik - 14.2 in 12 games - they averaged 57 points per game.
Last year's ACAC bronze medalists and 12th-ranked team in the country gave up 51.6 points per game.
Conversely, the Wolves scored an average of 69.7 points per, while giving up 66.1.
"They are a team that has always been in the playoffs, they are experienced, with third- and fourth-year girls who were in the playoffs last year and the year before, so they will bring a lot of experience into a situation that our squad lacks," said Catling.
The Wolves are 9-3 at home this season, including two losses to the Eagles on the final weekend of the season that had no bearing on playoff
They are relishing the opportunity to use what should be a raucous and supportive crowd to their advantage, said Catling.
He has even used audio of crowd noise over the sound system during practice this week to simulate the expected excited atmosphere.
"We want to get the girls prepared for what lies ahead not only this week, but if we move on and have to go into another team's gym where it will be loud and unfriendly," said Catling.
"I think the girls are just excited to play and we will have some initial nerves and some jitters, but once we get out there, the basketball brain
will take over and we will just react to situations and play through it."
Game 2 is slated for Friday at 7 p.m. and, if necessary, Game 3 would be played Saturday at 1 p.m.