Slemp V: The Return of the Specialist - Wolves' defence gets a boost as ACAC grants guard fifth year of eligibility
Pete Lucarotti - Herald-Tribune staff
26 September 2008
The GPRC Wolves women's basketball team received a big boost to its roster last week with the announcement that guard and defensive specialist Erin Slemp would be allowed to return for a fifth season.
"She's dynamite on the floor and she's probably one of the best defensive players in the province," said Wolves head coach Kim Gravengard. "She is tenacious out there and she starts a chain reaction.
"She steps on the floor and people get fired up."
Players have four years of eligibility in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference, but because Slemp was injured in her third year, playing for only a minute and a half the entire season, the Wolves were able to make an appeal to have that season discounted from her eligibility.
When last season ended, Slemp told Gravengard it would be her last. Slemp and the coaching staff had tossed around the idea of challenging the eligibility before, but Slemp expressed a desire to focus on school this year. It didn't take long before she began to reconsider.
"As summer progressed, and even with just a few months of not playing, she just realized she loved the game too much and if she got a chance to get that year of eligibility back she'd love that opportunity to play one more year," Gravengard said.
The five-foot, seven-inch guard was one of the team's best defensive players last year and her return will be a welcome addition for the Wolves, who finished 10th in the 13-team ACAC last year in points against, averaging 68.3 per game.
"People can play great offence and do great things, but there's very few players that are true defensive players and Erin Slemp is definitely one of those girls," said Gravengard.
Slemp will be joining the team for its first competition against conference rivals this weekend in Red Deer during the North South interlock. Her teammates were excited to hear she'd be back for the year.
"For the vets, they were very excited," Gravengard said.
"It makes people nervous a little bit, those few who are vying those few last spots … but we have a great group of girls this year and they know what it means to have her on this team."
While Slemp's spot on the team is secure, this weekend's games will give Gravengard a chance to look at the rest of the roster and decide who should play where, when the season officially begins Oct. 3 with the SAIT Fall Classic. The Wolves' home opener is the following weekend, against Lakeland College.
"This will be the first big weekend where the girls will actually get to play. There are still a few players vying for those last spots on the team," Gravengard said.
The Wolves play their first game tonight against Red Deer and play SAIT tomorrow before finishing the weekend against Lethbridge on Saturday night.