The Dalhousie women’s basketball team will have a very youthful presence this season.
“We have a great group of young players,” said Tigers head coach and Kensington native Anna Pendergast-Stammberger. “We have two fourth-years, two third-years and the rest are first- and second-year players. We don’t have any fifths.
“They are a great group of talented players. We are not very big, but are athletic and a hard-working defensive team and that will make up for our lack of size.”
Pendergast-Stammberger, who previously served as athletic director at Kensington Intermediate-Senior High School, is in her fourth season at Dalhousie.
“We are going to run and defend hard,” said the former Tiger star, Olympian and professional player. “We are going to work hard.”
One immediate priority for the Tigers is rebounding, noted the head coach.
“We are not a strong enough rebounding team right now, and we know that,” said Pendergast-Stammberger. “That’s our focus.
“We have very good team chemistry, and are all working hard towards that goal.”
The Tigers open the 2012-13 Atlantic University Sport regular season against the UPEI Panthers in Charlottetown on Friday night. Game time is 6 p.m., and the teams also meet again on Saturday at 3 p.m.
Islanders on team
Pendergast-Stammberger is not the only Islander with the Tigers as her daughter, Tessa Stammberger of Kensington, and Madison Tompkins, a graduate of Three Oaks Senior High School in Summerside, are in their second and first year, respectively, of playing with Dalhousie.
Another player, Ainsley MacIntyre of Sydney, N.S., also has P.E.I. ties. Pendergast-Stammberger explained that MacIntyre’s mother, Anne (nee Ready), is from Charlottetown, and the two actually ran in the Canada Games together.
What are Pendergast-Stammberger’s expectations for Stammberger and Tompkins?
Stammberger: “She had a good season last year, but she has to step up. We lost three fifth-years from last year and a couple of other players. Everyone has to step up and take a little more responsibility.
“She has done that in the pre-season, and she has done a good job. Of course she will have to continue to do that, and to work hard. She is playing in the post position right now, which is really not her first position. But she does a pretty good job, and does whatever the team needs her to do.”
Tompkins: “At the moment she is coming off the bench, and doesn’t see a lot of playing time. She is adjusting very well, and is meeting my expectations and beyond actually. She came in as a role player, but she has a lot of basketball experience through her numerous trips to Eastern Canadians and nationals.
“She really understands the game, she fits in extremely well with the team, both on and off the court, and at the moment the only thing she is struggling a little bit with is the physicality of the game. She needs to adjust to that and get physically stronger. She knows that and is working on that. She has been a tremendous positive addition to the team.”
Jason Simmonds is the sports editor of the Journal Pioneer. The “Islanders Away” feature appears every Thursday. To suggest an “Islander Away” please do so by emailing email@example.com.