ROCKFORD, Ill. – The Rockford University women's basketball heads into the 2017-18 season looking to continue its upward climb and improve upon their eighth place finish in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference from a season ago. The Regents have made great strides over the past two years as Rockford has been more competitive in the conference and ended last year with its highest NACC finish since the 2012-13 season. Last season the women's basketball team dropped ten games by 10 points or less, with eight of the games being against NACC opponents. RU heads into the year with a lot of optimism as the Regents have a great mixture of talented newcomers as well as experienced returners.
A solid group of returners hope to continue Rockford's ascent up the NACC standings. Junior Nicole Silvers (Byron, Ill.) returns after a stellar sophomore season where she was the team's third leading scorer at 9.6 points per game. Silvers also provides the Regents with a reliable presence on the floor after averaging a team-high 34.4 minutes per game. Senior Casey Pettit (Rockford, Ill.) is a 3-year starter and gives the Regents a presence on both ends of the court. The senior's quickness and ability to get to the basket gives the Regents a solid scoring option on offense; as well as being able to provide Rockford with a lockdown defender on defense. Pettit's court vision and ability to get her teammates involved offensively should also help the Regents as she led the team last year averaging 3.3 assists per game. Senior Tajanae Key (Glendale Heights, Ill.) is another key returner for this year's squad. Key is coming off her best year yet and should provide her team with some added toughness both offensively and defensively. She returns after leading the team in both rebounding (7.3 rpg) and steals (2.2 spg).
Rockford also brought in multiple key newcomers to help complement its group of returners. Transfer Linzy Keller (Rockford, Ill.) comes into the program after being at the University of Dubuque. Freshman Kaylynne Terry (Streator, Ill.) should help provide the Regents with some depth on the interior. Terry earned all-conference recognition during her sophomore, junior, and senior seasons of high school. Fellow freshman Neve Yerk (Belvidere, Ill.) comes in after a successful high school career where she earned NIC 10 Special Mention and all-tournament team both her junior and senior year. Finally, freshmen Alysea Hearns (Rockford, Ill.) and Sammi Russell (Winnebago, Ill.) should also see playing time this season and help contribute to the team's success.
"We have a good mix of returners, transfers, and freshmen," Head Coach Jessica Stanek stated. "We will rely heavily on our six seniors, but everyone will need to step up and fill their role for us to be successful."
The RU women's basketball team begins its season on Saturday, November 18 against Eureka College. Tip-off is set for 2:00 PM in the Seaver Center.