Blues boast eight new members:
Five transfers supply WU with added depth and experience on hardwood
By Kate Hampson

Published: Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Every new season a team faces challenges. This year is no different for the Lady Blues basketball team as they introduce eight new players to begin the season.

To add to this challenge, coach Ron McHenry is implementing a new offense, an offense the entire team will have to learn together. As the team works on its new offense, it will also have to work on team chemistry.

The eight new players on the roster include freshmen and transfers from other universities. The freshmen are Laura Kinderknecht, Dana Elliott and Laura McMullin, while the transfers are Sierra Moeller, Chasity Workman, Rose Hammond, Amanda Fessenden and Ashley Jappa. It may be just the beginning of the season but the team has already started to gel.

“I love the whole team. Everyone gets along so well, we are like a little family. This is a much better college atmosphere. In Florida is was more like a resort atmosphere,” said Amanda Fessenden, and senior transfer from Florida Gulf Coast University.
Fessenden, from Wichita, chose to transfer to Washburn because she wanted to be closer to family and it was an opportunity to play on a great team. She had always known about Washburn growing up and she had some coaches that got her foot in the door at Washburn.

“The people here are all just so nice both at Washburn and just in the community,” said Fessenden. “People here will just strike up a conversation and ask how the team is doing.”

Moeller a transfer from Boise State University and Kansas University came across Washburn in a more unconventional way. She was set for her third school, Brigham Young University, and working at a golf course in Lawrence. McHenry was golfing and noticed that she was tall so he asked if she had ever played basketball. Turns out she liked Washburn more and decided that was really where she wanted to be. Because of NCAA rules, Moeller has to sit this season.

Hope Gregory, a returning player, has high hopes for this season but says it is definitely a learning process.

“With so many newcomers coming in this year, their role will be huge for our program. We are going to have to rely on them as well as the returning players. The sooner everyone knows the new offense, the better we are going to be,” said Gregory.

For the freshmen, it is not just adjusting to the new offense, but they also are adapting to the college life, college classes and a higher-paced game. Laura McMullin, a freshman from Sedalia, Mo., is adapting well.

“I really like Washburn a lot, the classes are great because of the student-teacher ratio,” said McMullin. “Basketball has been the biggest adjustment because the practices are a lot more intense and it is just a different environment. I just love all of the girls on the team.” 

The team will continue to integrate the new players and the new offense and prepare for their first game at home on November 21 in Lee Arena.