Western Michigan Broncos, 12/1/05
Western Michigan has started slowly in the 2005-2006 season, losing to Notre Dame, Florida International and American for a record of 0-3. Don’t be deceived, though: They lost those games by a combined six points (three to UND, one to FIU and two to AU in OT). Along with the Big East and Big Ten, Western Michigan will play another Big Ten team (Northwestern) an ACC team (Virginia Tech) a second Big East team (Louisville) and a Big XII team (Missouri) before beginning regular season play in the Mid-American Conference (MAC). Purdue and Western Michigan have met four times previously, all in the 1990s, with the Boilermakers holding a 4-0 advantage.
Coach Ron Stewart has begun his ninth year leading the Western Michigan program, compiling an overall record of 118-118 and an 85-61 MAC record during his tenure. Western Michigan has participated in four WNITs and an NCAA tournament appearance. Stewart has turned around a program that was 3-23 the season before he joined the Kalamazoo, Mich.-based school.
Senior guard Casey Rost has successfully returned from almost a year away from playing competitively; she sat out all but two games in 2004-2005 to rehabilitate an injury she sustained in the 2003-2004 season when she was named the MAC Player of the Year. Rost leads her squad in points per game (20.7), steals (6), 3-point field goals (12) and 3-point field goal percentage (52.2%). Add that she shoots 89% from the free throw line, averages 5.7 rebounds per game and has dished out 7 assists and it’s clear to even the most casual fan that Rost is one player the Broncos can ill afford to be without.
The Broncos aren’t a one-woman team, however, as 6’3” junior forward Lindsey Brown – a transfer from Kalamazoo Valley Community College) has powered her way to 17.7 points and 9.7 rebounds per game, while shooting field goals at a 53.5% clip. In her first college game, Brown scored 16 points (7-11 from the field) and pulled down six rebounds against Notre Dame.
Finally, Carrie Moore provides more-than-solid support at the guard position. The 5’9” junior was named First Team All-MAC in the 2004-2005 season when she led the Broncos in scoring (17.6 points per game) and rebounds (8.2 rebounds per game). Moore was a preseason All-MAC choice and currently averages 10.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game.
Rost, Brown and Moore are joined in the starting lineup by freshman guard Tiera DeLaHoussaye and sophomore forward Amanda Parker. All five starters average at least 32.3 minutes per game, topped by Rost’s 40.7 and Moore’s 37.0. Two players, junior guard Andrea Thelen and junior forward Ashley Owens also average double-figures in minutes. Of the Broncos’ 14 players, there are three seniors, six juniors, two sophomores and three freshmen. Seven players are 6’ or taller.
Western Michigan may not be the best shooting squad in the nation (40.1% FG, 33.3% 3-pointers, 64.2% FT) or the most adept at taking care of the basketball (46:53 A:TO ratio) but the Broncos will defend (39.3% FG, 23.5% 3-pointers) and rebound (44.0 per game).
For more information about the Broncos, go to the team's official Web site, http://www.wmubroncos.com/SportSelect.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=4600&KEY=&SPID=1925&SPSID=24388.