A year ago, Cal State Fullerton's Autumn Hollyfield was the top three-point shooter in women's college basketball with 110 in 289 attempts (.381), an average of just more than four per game.
"I don't think she'll have that many three-pointers this season," Fullerton Coach Deborah Ayres said. At least, Ayres hopes she doesn't.
Ayres said that was one of the problems with the Titan offense last season. Fullerton relied too much on outside shooting, at the expense of passing the ball inside for easier scores. The result was a 5-22 record, 4-14 in the Big West Conference.
"Autumn is a tremendous three-point shooter, but getting most of our points from the perimeter won't help us win," Ayres said. "We've made some changes in the offense to get the ball inside to our post players more often."
Still Hollyfield should find the opportunity to break the school record for three-pointers. She needs only 27 to surpass Joey Ray's record.
Seniors Tara Nowling (5 feet 11) and Koko Lahanas (6-0) shared the center position last year. Between them, they averaged slightly more than 10 points. Ayres wants more scoring from the position.
"We want to play an up-tempo game, so we'll need them to share playing time again this season," Ayres said. "Since we're small and still missing the big people inside, we're going to have to speed up our game."
Hollyfield, a 5-11 senior forward, averaged 17.9 points last season to lead the team; junior guard Shayla Bradshaw was a close second at 16.3.
The Titans' third leading scorer, forward Shefonda Colbert, is academically ineligible. Colbert (6-0) was the team's leading rebounder and had averaged 10 points over the past two seasons.
Ayres moved Bradshaw from point guard to shooting guard with the hope that she can help deliver the ball inside from there and become more of a scoring threat.
Marissa Frial, a 5-3 senior who averaged 8.6 points last season, has taken over at the point.
"Frial has been doing a terrific job at the point in practice," Ayres said.
Several players are competing for the other starting spot. Kim Cram (5-10) has shifted from guard to forward and LaCheri Grant (5-11) is back after sitting out last season. Ayres hopes Michelle Leitner (6-2), coming back from a second reconstructive knee surgery, also will help.
"We're definitely a better team right now than we were a year ago," Ayres said. "All of our players have had at least one year together, and just knowing each other should help."
Ayres says the Titans still are not ready to challenge teams such as UC Santa Barbara and New Mexico State in the conference's upper echelon.
Ayres is optimistic about the future. "Having a full staff of assistants this year should really help," she said. "We didn't have that last year because of the budget problems. It's already had a tremendous impact this year in recruiting."
She rebuilt the staff with Kelley Hall from Mississippi State, Robyn Stewart from Idaho and Tom Powers from College of the Siskiyous. Fullerton opens Nov. 25 at home against Washington State.
Cal State Fullerton Facts and Figures
No Player Pos Hgt Yr Hometown (High School) 00 *Beth Taylor C 6-2 Sr Hanford (College of the Sequoias) 5 *Kim Cram F 5-10 So Elk Grove (Elk Grove) 10 Jamene Alderson G 5-5 Fr Adelanto (Hesperia) 11 LaCheri Grant F 5-11 Jr San Jose (San Jose CC) 22 *Marissa Frial G 5-3 Sr Riverside (J.W. North) 23 Kelly Stuart G 5-7 Jr Redding (College of the Siskiyous) 24 *Autumn Hollyfield G 5-11 Sr Newcastle (Sierra College) 25 Kari Kron C 6-3 Fr Washington, Iowa (Washington) 32 Cassaundra Wiggins G 5-8 Jr Atwater (Kings River College) 33 *Koko Lahanas F 6-0 Sr Concord (Los Medanos College) 40 Michele Leitner F/C 6-2 Fr Chico (Pleasant Valley) 42 *Shayla Bradshaw G 5-7 Jr Higley, Ariz. (Gilbert) 44 *Tara Nowling F 5-11 Sr Vacaville (Solano CC)
* Letter winners returning (7)
Coach: Deborah Ayres
Assistants: J. Kelley Hall, Robyn Stewart, Tom Powers
Date Opponent Time Nov. 25 Washington State 7:00 Dec. 1 at Loyola 7:05 Dec. 8 at San Francisco 7:00 Dec. 10 at Stanford 7:30 Dec. 19 *Northern Arizona 4:30 Dec. 20 N. Ariz. Tournament TBA Dec. 29 at Pepperdine 7:00 Jan. 4 UC Irvine 7:00 Jan. 8 UNLV 3:00 Jan. 10 New Mexico State 7:00 Jan. 13 at Hawaii 10:00 Jan. 15 at San Jose State 2:00 Jan. 21 Nevada 1:00 Jan. 22 Pacific 3:00 Jan. 27 at UC Santa Barbara 7:30 Jan. 31 at Long Beach State 7:30 Feb. 3 at New Mexico State 6:30 Feb. 5 at UNLV 2:00 Feb. 10 San Jose State 7:00 Feb. 12 Hawaii 3:00 Feb. 14 Cal Poly SLO 7:00 Feb. 17 at Pacific 7:30 Feb. 19 at Nevada 2:00 Feb. 24 Long Beach State 7:00 Feb. 26 UC Santa Barbara 3:00 March 4 at UC Irvine 3:00 Mar. 7-11 **Big West Tourn. TBA
All times are P.M. and Pacific
* Northern Arizona Tournament
** at Las Vegas