Starting her 23rd year in the women's basketball program, Head Coach Jean Marie Burr is fired up about the 2010-11 squad. Though the team has only been practicing for a few weeks, Burr says the commitment is already there.
"We have a really solid team," Burr said. "They're really excited and they're working hard. They've broken some records on the track as well as in the weight room."
The team finished last year with an 8-20 overall record and a 5-9 league record. The Bears graduated three seniors last year, all of whom were four-year letter winners.
Though the squad has no seniors this year, Burr said she has no doubts about the leadership capabilities of the junior class.
"We have three juniors who have a lot of playing time under their belts," Burr said. "I expect that they are really going to take that to the next level. They are great leaders."
Their resumes are certainly impressive. Hannah Passafuime '12, Aileen Daniels '12 and Lindsay Steele '12 are all Brown letter winners who made significant contributions to the 2009-10 season. Passafuime and Daniels were named spring captains last season. Both players were high scorers on last year's team — Passafuime averaged 9.3 points a game to finish as the leading scorer, and Daniels scored 7.1 per game to finish third.
The Bears will also look to their new freshmen to bring on the heat. Six recruited members and one walk-on compose the freshman class. Burr explained how the new faces are already falling right into step.
"We like an up-tempo game, we love to play a pressure defense," she said. "They are really playing hard and making that type of commitment defensively."
Passafuime agreed that the new squad is already working well together.
"What gets me excited is that we are already flowing so well together right now," she said.
It is important for Burr's team dynamic that the freshmen participate in selecting captains.
"I like the first-years to be part of the chosen leadership," Burr said. "Everyone gets to know each other, and then we vote."
In a voting process that included both players and coaches, Passafuime and Daniels were re-elected as the winter season captains.
Co-captain Passafuime said she is ready to jump into the season, starting with the first game against Albany on Friday.
"The first two weeks of practice are hard because we aren't playing games yet," she said. "We just look forward to the first game so much."
After Albany, the Bears return home to host Bryant University in their first home game of the season Nov. 23. The early season will see two major tournaments — the Iona Thanksgiving Classic and the Brown Bear Basketball Classic, which will be held at the Pizzitola Center starting Dec. 1.