Coach Sharon Rissmiller’s fifth season as head coach for the Pacific University Boxers’ women’s basketball team was a breath of fresh air.
The Boxers finished 13-11 overall and 6-10 in the Northwest Conference, placing sixth.
The 13 wins were the most the women’s basketball team has seen since the 1995-96 season, when the Boxers won the Northwest conference title and reached the NAIA National Tournament.
Coach Rissmiller is looking to advance that very success from last year, and she’s confident that she can accomplish that.
Since last year the Boxers lost Erica Shultz, Brittney Anderson and Kandice McArthur to graduation.
Schultz led the team in almost every category last season with 13.9 points per game (ppg), 63 steals, a .393 three-point average and 28 blocks.
At the end of the season, Schultz was selected to the All-Northwest Conference Second Team for the second time.
Anderson was also a key contributor with 6.0 ppg and 4.3 rebounds per game.
McArthur spent her senior year primarily as an off-the-bench player, coming in later in games.  Her presence on the court elevated the Boxers, and aided the team in setting a school record of 14 three-pointers against Linfield, hitting four of six of her own attempts.
While the graduating seniors will be missed, the Boxers will be more than able to fill in the voids left.
Paige Jenson will be a key returner.
Last season, Jensen finished the season with 12.0 ppg, 51 steals, 10 blocks and a .723 free throw percentage.  Her 8.8 rpg ranked her at third in the NWC.
Her seven double-doubles led the team last year and she was selected to the All-Northwest Conference Second Team with Schultz.
Heather Hitch and Erica Colter will also be notable returners for the Boxers this season.
Hitch, a junior college transfer, finished third on the team in points with 8.0 ppg.  Her .503 field goal percentage was best on the team and fifth in the conference last year.
Colter took over as point guard last year and finished fifth on the team in points with five ppg and forth in assists with 30.
With her strong returning group, Rissmiller said she is very confident that her team will be successful this season.
When asked if she had high expectations of her team, she said, “We’re going to be good…This year, the team is even more focused, more experienced and they just have a better understanding of the conference and the competitiveness…The team chemistry is the best it has ever been.  Work ethic and commitment level is the best it has ever been, collective responsibility within the team is the best in the programs history.”
The women’s basketball team opens the 2012-13 season against Walla Walla University on Nov. 15 in the Stoller Center.

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