Robert Morris women’s basketball preview: Colonials move on without Spanou |
Robert Morris

Robert Morris women’s basketball preview: Colonials move on without Spanou

Karen Price

There simply is no replacing a player such as Artemis Spanou, and Robert Morris coach Sal Buscaglia knows that.

The two-time Northeast Conference Player of the Year was not only the Colonials’ leading scorer and rebounder, but she also ended her career with four conference and 10 school records. She led the league in rebounding all four years at Robert Morris and is one of just seven players in Division I history to record 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, 300 assists and 100 blocks.

“We’ve had to learn to play without her, there’s no question about it,” said Buscaglia, the reigning NEC Coach of the Year. “Our style has to change. We can’t just get the ball in the post and play out of that because Artie got double-teamed. It’s a learning process and an ongoing process.”

The Colonials have four starters and nine players back from a team that went 21-12, captured the NEC championship and went to the NCAA Tournament last season. Returners include second-leading scorer Anna-Niki Stamalamprou and center Cassie Oursler, both of whom were named to the NEC All-Rookie team, as well as junior Ashley Ravelli, the conference rookie of the year two years ago.

It’s enough of a pedigree that the conference coaches picked the Colonials to repeat as NEC champs.

“It’s great and surprising, too, with 10 underclassmen and losing probably the best player to ever play in the Northeast Conference,” Buscaglia said. “To lose a player of that caliber and still be picked No. 1, I feel good about the respect the coaches gave us.”

Oursler said it will take everyone on the floor to make up for what the team lost in Spanou. For her, that means getting more confident with the ball and learning to make her own moves in the post.

“Artie would pass to me, and I’d just go straight up with it,” said Oursler, whose 5.0 rebounds per game ranked second on the team. “Now I’m going to have to make a move one-on-one or even one-on-two and finish, and I’m going to have to improve my rebounding, too.”

The Colonials begin the season with five road games, including the season opener Nov. 16 at No. 19 Iowa. They’ll play just three games at home — where they went 16-4 overall and 9-0 in conference — during the nonconference schedule, including a Dec. 14 matchup against Duquesne.

Once the season begins, Stamalamprou said, they’ll be the team everyone is looking to beat.

“It’s maybe an even bigger target than last year because we won, so everybody is waiting for us,” she said. “But we can get the benefits from the target and the pressure. We need to feel more comfortable, to be ready and need to get better because everybody is coming for us.”

Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach her at [email protected] or via Twitter @KarenPrice_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.