PREVIEW: Women's Basketball Opens Season With Two Games In Kentucky

PREVIEW: Women's Basketball Opens Season With Two Games In Kentucky

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* This Week:
The Ferris State women's basketball team officially opens the 2013-14 season on the road at the United Electric Tip-Off Classic hosted by Bellarmine (Ky.) University at Knights Hall this weekend (Nov. 23-24) in Louisville, Ky. FSU faces the host Bellarmine on Saturday at 3:15 p.m. (ET) and then squares off against Nova Southeastern (Fla.) on Sunday at 1 p.m. (ET). This year represents the second consecutive year in which the Bulldogs have opened the season at the event.

* Media Coverage: There will be no Bulldog Sports Network coverage available for either of this weekend's games. However, Bellarmine will offer live internet statistics along with a live audio broadcast.  For a full listing of links, please visit

* Follow On Twitter/Facebook: In addition to internet coverage, Bulldog fans can also follow all games this season via Twitter and Facebook with updates. Please visit or to follow the periodic posts and tweet-by-tweet coverage with scoring updates.

* Exhibition Season: Ferris State played its lone official exhibition game of the preseason on Oct. 30 when FSU squared off against perennial Big Ten power Michigan State at the Breslin Center in East Lansing. The Bulldogs grabbed an early lead over the 18th-ranked Spartans before a 24-0 MSU run fueled the hosts to a 100-52 win over the Bulldogs.

* Last year: Last season, the Bulldog women posted a 13-13 overall mark during head coach Colleen Lamoreaux-Tate's first season at the helm in 2012-13 despite battling injuries most of the year. The injury list included losing the returning GLIAC Freshman of the Year for nearly the entire season among others. FSU finished with a 12-10 mark in GLIAC play while reaching the conference tournament for the 14th time in program history and the double-digit win total marked the 16th time in the last 17 seasons in which the Bulldog women have accomplished the feat.  Ferris State fell in the first round of the league tournament after being the preseason favorite.

* The Records: Ferris State (0-0, 0-0 GLIAC) will open its 2013-14 campaign on the road at the United Electric Tipoff Classic.  FSU is coming off a 13-13 record a year ago in the debut campaign for head coach Collen Lamoreaux-Tate.
Bellarmine (0-2, 0-0 GLVC) fell to Cedarville (Ohio) by a 87-84 score in overtime in its season opener on Nov. 13. The Knights then dropped a 82-62 decision away from home at North Alabama on Nov. 17. A year ago, they finished 9-11 overall and posted a 9-9 mark in Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) play.

Nova Southeastern (2-0, 0-0 Sunshine State Conference), which is ranked fifth in the country, is coming off two wins over top 25 opponents in #22 Washburn (Kan.) and #7 Stonehill in the Nova Southeastern Tipoff Classic. They will face Kentucky State in Saturday's first game before meeting the Bulldogs on Sunday.

* The Head Coach: Ferris State – Colleen Lamoreaux-Tate (Aquinas), 2nd season, 13-13 (.500) - (0-0 vs. Bellarmine & Nova Southeastern).  A veteran coach with 27 years of experience on the sidelines and regarded as one of the state's top prep coaches prior to her FSU arrival a year ago, Lamoreaux-Tate spent the previous seven years as the varsity girls basketball coach at Grand Rapids Catholic Central High School where she guided the Cougars to a 167-19 cumulative record prior to her appointment as Ferris State's head coach in June 2012.

* Last year: This year marks the second consecutive year in which the Bulldogs have opened the season at the United Electric Tipoff Classic hosted by Bellarmine University. A year ago, head coach Colleen Lamoreaux-Tate notched her first-ever win at the Bulldog helm with a 62-58 triumph over Kentucky State in the second game (11/10/12) of the event. FSU opened last year's play with a narrow 59-51 setback to Cedarville in Knights Hall. Both Sarah DeShone and Christina Branch fueled the Bulldogs to the win over KSU with 16 points each.  DeShone had a game-high 19 points in the setback to Cedarville.

* Scouting Bellarmine: Bellarmine is off to an 0-2 start, but is coming off an impressive 19-11 overall record last season in the initial campaign under head coach Chancellor Dugan.  BU lost six seniors to graduation and ranks as one of the GLVC's youngest teams coming in with 10 freshmen and sophomores on the roster.

* Scouting Nova Southeastern: The Sharks, ranked fourth in the NCAA Division II Preseason Rankings, opened the year with two wins over top 25-ranked teams in Washburn and Stonehill. A total of eight letterwinners are back from last year's 10-player rotation including preseason honorable mention All-American Danielle Robinson, the team's top returning scorer at 14.1 points per game. Three starters return for head coach LeAnn Freeland, who led NSU to a share of a conference title and a trip to the national quarterfinals at the Elite Eight.

* Preseason Listing: Ferris State, which earned votes in the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Division II Top 25 Preseason Poll, was picked to finish fourth in the GLIAC North Division preseason poll. In addition, a pair of Bulldogs were named to the 2013-14 All-GLIAC North Division Preseason First Team in senior guard Sarah DeShone and junior forward Christina Branch.

* Returning Talent: Expectations are high heading into the 2013-14 campaign as the Bulldogs' returnees this season will include senior guard Sarah DeShone (Elkhart, Ind./Jimtown), who earned All-America honors for the second-straight year last season. FSU also returns four other players with starting experience from a year ago in guard Katie Mavis (St. Joseph), forwards Ashley Rando (Jackson/Northwest) and Kara Hess (Grand Rapids/Grandville) along with center Hannah Hoffman (Okemos).  

Additionally, the returnees include three student-athletes who redshirted in 2012-13 - sophomores Destiney Robinson (Grand Rapids/Christian), Dena Droste (DeWitt) and Christina Branch (Grand Rapids/West Michigan Lutheran).  Robinson played her initial collegiate campaign at Grand Rapids Community College while Droste transferred prior to last season from NCAA Division I Kent State.  Branch claimed GLIAC Freshman of the Year recognition for the Bulldogs in 2011-12 as FSU reached the NCAA Midwest Regional Semifinals and won the GLIAC North Division Championship.

* Returning All-American: Ferris State senior Sarah DeShone earned Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Division II Honorable Mention All-America honors for the second consecutive campaign a year ago. Last year marked the second consecutive year in which DeShone also claimed first team All-GLIAC status.  She previously received WBCA Honorable Mention All-America honors in 2011-12 after being named to both the All-GLIAC and all-region teams.

* Top Scorer Back: The Bulldogs welcome back their top scorer in senior guard Sarah DeShone, who averaged a team-best 17.7 points per game, which ranked second in the conference, in 2012-12.  She also led the Bulldogs in assists (3.1) and sank a team-high 46 three-pointers. DeShone started all 26 games and reached double-figure scoring 24 times.  She scored 20 or more points in 11 outings.

* Bulldog All-Americans: FSU's Sarah DeShone joined former Bulldog players Lucy DeMartin and Tianna Kirkland along with Rachel Folcik and Erin Miller as the only players in the program's history to attain any type of All-America accolades when she received honorable mention accolades for the first time in 2011-12. DeMartin was honored as a Division II Women's Basketball Bulletin Honorable Mention selection in 2003-04 while Kirkland was a Division II Women's Basketball Bulletin Third Team All-America pick during the 2000-01 campaign. Both Miller and DeMartin were among the Division II Kodak/WBCA All-America Honorable Mention nominees in 2003-04. Folcik was chosen to the WBCA Honorable Mention All-American team in 2006-07 along with the State Farm Coaches All-America Team in 2007.

* New Assistant Coach: Ferris State head coach Colleen Lamoreaux-Tate will have a new full-time assistant coach on the sidelines this season as Shea Mead was appointed to the post this past summer after having spent the last two seasons as a graduate assistant coach in the women's basketball program at NCAA Division I Central Michigan.  The Chippewas made the school's first NCAA Tournament appearance in 29 years last season and won the Mid-American Conference Tournament while registering their third-straight 20-plus win campaign under head coach Sue Guevara. A Grand Rapids native, Mead competed on the prep level at Grand Rapids Catholic Central High School during Lamoreaux-Tate's stint as the Cougars' head girls coach.

* Two Years Ago: Ferris State finished the 2011-12 women's basketball season with a memorable 23-7 overall record, which matched the school record set previously in 2006-07 for most wins in a campaign. FSU also reached the semifinals at the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Tournament two seasons ago under former head coach and current Valparaiso University head coach Tracey Dorow.

* Second GLIAC Crown: FSU finished with a 17-2 mark in GLIAC play two years ago and won the league's North Division Championship for only the second time in school history in addition to earning conference tournament runner-up honors.

* Looking Back To Two Years Ago: Ferris State finished the 2011-12 season with a 23-7 overall record, which matched the school record set previously in 2006-07 for most wins in a campaign. The Bulldogs also advanced to the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional semifinals and claimed the schools second-ever GLIAC North Division Championship.

* The Bulldog Roster: Ferris' 2013-14 roster includes two seniors, three juniors, five sophomores and five freshmen or redshirt freshmen. Eight of the 15 players are primarily backcourt players while the remaining seven are forwards or centers. Eleven of the 15 players on the Bulldogs' roster hail from Michigan with two from Indiana and one each from Illinois and Ohio.

* The Head Coach: FSU Athletics Director Perk Weisenburger officially announced the appointment of Colleen Lamoreaux-Tate as the Bulldogs' new head coach on June 14, 2012. She became only the sixth head coach in the 39-year history of Bulldog women's basketball and replaced former head coach Tracey Dorow, who accepted the head coaching position at NCAA Division I Valparaiso University. In her seven seasons at Grand Rapids Catholic Central, she recorded 23 wins or more six consecutive years, including back-to-back 27-1 marks in 2008-09 and 2009-10.  Her 2009-10 team claimed the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) Class B State Championship.

* Bulldog Notes: Ferris State made its fifth-ever NCAA Tournament appearance two seasons ago.  The Bulldogs reached the NCAA-II Sweet Sixteen and the regional final in 2006-07 at Romeoville, Ill. ....... Junior Kara Hess is in her second season with the women's basketball team after originally beginning her career as a volleyball student-athlete at Ferris State. A year ago, she competed in both sports before focusing on basketball this year.

* Bulldog Tradition: The Ferris State women's basketball program, which starts its 39th season of varsity competition, has compiled a 496-498 (.499) all-time mark. The Bulldogs won their first previous GLIAC crown, advanced to their first NCAA-II Regional Tournament and recorded the nation's highest grade point average in 1999-2000. FSU, which claimed GLIAC Tourney runner-up honors for the third time in 2011-12, has posted 10 wins or more in 15 of the last 16 seasons.

* Key Win Mark: Ferris State's 23 wins two years ago matched its 23-9 mark while advancing to the NCAA-II Sweet Sixteen in 2006-07 for the most in school history.  Additionally, the Bulldogs' 17 league regular-season victories were the program's most in school history and topped the 16 wins set in 1999-00.

* All-GLIAC Honorees: Ferris State was well-represented on the All-GLIAC teams announced two years agoin conjunction with the postseason banquet at the league's final four.  SarahDeShone was one of 10 first-team honorees while both forward/center Christina Branch and guard Tricia Principe were second-team picks.  Branch also claimed GLIAC All-Defensive Team recognition.  DeShone repeated the accomplishment as FSU's only award winner last season on the conference level.

* GLIAC Tournament Berth: Ferris State made its 14th consecutive GLIAC Tournament appearance a season ago in the first campaign under head coach Colleen Lamoreaux-Tate.  The Bulldogs had advanced to the semifinals in each of their four previous trips, but suffered a narrow 68-59 road loss to Wayne State in the quarterfinal round at the Matthaei Complex in Detroit last season.

* GLIAC & Home Opener: Ferris State will officially begin its quest for a second GLIAC North Division Championship in three years as FSU opens conference play at home versus Lake Erie on Thursday, Dec. 5.  The contest will also represent the Bulldogs' 2013-14 home opener at FSU's Jim Wink Arena.

About Ferris State: Ferris State University is a NCAA Division II school located in Big Rapids, Mich., with an enrollment of 14,707. The Bulldogs are a member of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC). Big Rapids is located in West Michigan approximately 60 miles north of Grand Rapids or 40 miles west of Mount Pleasant, Mich.  FSU also plays NCAA Division I men's ice hockey in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) and reached the 2012 NCAA Frozen Four along with the national championship game.

* Sunny 97.3: A majority of FSU contests this year will be carried again thru a broadcast partnership between FSU Athletics and Sunny 97.3 FM.  Rob Bentley and Sandy Gholston will call the action starting with the "Bulldog Pregame" show a half-hour prior to tipoff for nearly all remaining games after this weekend.  Sunny 97.3 and the Bulldog Sports Network will again carry a majority of the home and away basketball contests this campaign with the broadcasts streamed live online at

* Bulldog Sports Network: Fans can follow all the action of Ferris State Basketball live online via the Bulldog Sports Network multimedia portal again this season.  A live audio and video pay-per-view webcast in HD will be offered for nearly all home games with free audio for road contests.  The package also includes live stats, live chat and a live blog at select times. Visit for more info.

* Home Ticket Information: Single-game tickets for the 2013-14 home campaign are currently on sale now.  Fans are encouraged to buy tickets in advance this season. For more info on ticket sales, please contact the FSU Athletics Ticket Office at (231) 591-2888 or visit

* More Media Coverage: Ferris State Basketball will be featured throughout the year as part of the "Bulldog Sports Update", which will air Monday thru Friday at 7:30 a.m. (ET) on Sunny 97.3 FM.  Additionally, head coach Colleen Lamoreaux-Tate and selected student-athletes will make periodic weekly appearances during the season on the Ferris Sports Update TV show, which is available across Northern Michigan on Fox 32 along with Comcast Xfinitiy in Michigan and other sources, including online at

* Live Internet Stats: "Live Stats" of all 2013-14 Ferris State games will be provided in progress via the internet. Visit the site at and click the "Live Stats" icon to access.

* New To The Team: Seven newcomers will join the eight returnees as the Bulldogs begin preparations for the second season under head coach Colleen Lamoreaux-Tate's direction this coming year.  FSU was able to haul in recruits from Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan in her first full recruiting cycle. The list of additions includes a pair of transfers in forward/center April Watson(Detroit/University Prep), who played last season at the NCAA Division I level for Chicago State, along with junior college transfer forward Heidi Highstreet (Algonac) from St. Clair Community College. Meanwhile, five incoming prep student-athletes have also joined the program in guards Emily Evans (Canton, Ohio/Glen Oak), Ally Christman (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Dwenger), Hannah Wilkerson (Grand Haven) and Alex Shermulis (Orland Park, Ill./Providence Catholic) in addition to forward Kendra Enszer (Big Rapids).

The Newcomers:

April Watson: The 6-2 Watson played in 17 contests and made five starts for Chicago State in 2012-13 while totaling 55 rebounds, 51 points and 17 blocked shots in nearly 15 minutes per contest. She previously averaged 16 points, 10 boards and four blocks per game as a senior at Detroit's University Prep in 2011-12 after helping the team to a district title in 2010. She was an all-conference honoree at the prep level.

Heidi Highstreet: A 5-11 forward, Highstreet prepped at Algonac High School before spending two seasons at St. Clair Community College.  She helped the Skippers finish 32-3 and fourth in the nation at the National Junior College Athletic Association National Championships this past season while averaging 12.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per contest in a team captain role.  She was a first-team all-conference selection and MVP of the district tournament as a collegiate sophomore last year.

Emily Evans: An Ohio native, Evans was a three-year varsity player at GlenOak High School in Canton and helped the Golden Eagles to the second round of the Ohio Division I State Playoffs in 2012-13.  A National Honor Society member, she was tabbed as an all-district honoree and claimed area Student-Athlete of the Week recognition at the end of her final campaign.

Ally Christman: The 5-10 Christman was a first-team all-conference selection for Bishop Dwenger in Fort Wayne, Ind.  The standout guard averaged nearly 18 points per game as a senior for head coach Dave Scudder at the Class 3A level in Indiana and chosen as one of the region's top prospects. She was also tabbed as a first-team Academic All-State selection.

Hannah Wilkerson: A West Michigan product, Wilkerson ranked as one of Grand Haven's top defenders and the team's second-leading scorer at more than 10 points per game in her final campaign.  She helped the Bucs to a perfect 28-0 record and a second consecutive Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) Class A State Championship at the Breslin Center in March. This summer, she was selected as the MVP at the Champions of Character All-Star Game in Grand Rapids and an all-state recipient.

Alex Shermulis: The 5-9 Shermulis played on the prep level for Providence Catholic High School in New Lenox, Ill. She attained four varsity letters and was a three-year starter while serving as co-captain as a senior in 2012-13. The All-East Suburban Catholic Conference First Team pick ranked among the league's top 20 scoring leaders.

Kendra Enszer: Finally, Enszer is a local product coming off a standout career at Big Rapids High School under prep head coach Jessica Haist. The 6-0 forward scored her 1,000th career point as a senior while helping the Cardinals clinch the Central State Activities Association title. As a junior, Enszer led Big Rapids to the regional finals.  She was the Big Rapids Pioneer Dream Team Player of the Year and chosen as an all-state honoree.

The Returnees:

# 3 Destiny Robinson: Redshirted last season, previously played in 2011-12 at Grand Rapids Community College, averaged 10.8 points per game for the Raiders. From Grand Rapids – GR Christian High School

#12 Katie Mavis: Played in 25 games as a redshirt freshman last season and made 16 starts, averaged eight points and 2.5 assists per game, twice scored 19 points. From St. Joseph – St. Joseph High School

#21 Kara Hess: Played in 23 games last season, averaged 6.7 points and 1.3 assists, former three-year member of Ferris State volleyball program. From Grand Rapids – Grandville High School

#22 Sarah DeShone: Two-time All-American, Two-Time All-GLIAC First Team, Averaged 17 points, five rebounds and three assists a season ago.  From Elkhart, Indiana – Jimtown High School

#24 Dena Droste: Redshirted last season due to injury, played in 17 games as a freshman in 2011-12 at Division I Kent State, averaged 2.9 points and 2.0 rebounds for the Golden Flashes. From DeWitt – DeWitt High School

#34 Ashley Rando: Three-year letterwinner, played in 26 games and made 19 starts last year, averaged 10.3 points and 1.6 assists per game, played in 29 games as FSU reached NCAA Tourney in 2011-12. From Jackson – Northwest High School

#40 Christina Branch: Missed most of last season due to injury, was the 2011-12 GLIAC Freshman of the Year as the Bulldogs reached the NCAA Tourney, All-GLIAC Second Team as a rookie. From Grand Rapids – West Michigan Lutheran High School.

#44 Hannah Hoffman: Two-year letterwinner, played in 26 games last season, averaged 4.4 points and 5.0 rebounds per contest, led team in rebounding. From Okemos – Okemos High School