ROSEMONT, Ill. — Before the opening tip of his team’s exhibition game last Tuesday, IU Coach Curt Miller and the women’s basketball team were slapped with an administrative technical foul.
Miller said the game program, which listed each player on the roster, was printed without one of the team’s starters, senior forward Tabitha Gerardot.
Consequently, the Hoosiers were given a technical foul and the opponent, Georgetown College, shot two free throws before the game had started.
“We chuckle about it now,” Miller said. “It’s a product of how truly young we are.”
Eight of the 13 players on the 2013-2014 women’s basketball roster are in their first year with the team. In Tuesday’s exhibition game, which IU won 79-55, 62 of those points came from IU’s newcomers.
Speaking to reporters at Big Ten Media Day, Miller said IU is one of two teams in the Big Ten that lost more than half of its scoring from last season.
“It puts light into just how many newcomers we have,” Miller said. “Sometimes it’s not bad to be naïve and have a bunch of young kids.”
The eight newcomers include freshmen Taylor Agler, Jennifer Anderson, Larryn Brooks, Alexis Gassion, Lyndsay Leikem, Karlee McBride, Lizzy Pedigo and Gerardot.
Of them, Agler, Brooks, Gerardot and sophomore Kaila Hulls started for the Hoosiers against Georgetown College.
Senior Sasha Chaplin, the lone starter in the exhibition to have played for the Hoosiers prior to this season, said she has seen firsthand the progress the team has made.
“With all the newcomers, you want to see how they step up this year,” Chaplin said. “Especially seeing them in the summertime til now, you see the improvement.”
Chaplin, one of the team’s captains, said she’s taken it upon herself to help the team in any way possible.
“Knowing that I can project myself and my voice, I think it’s an important aspect of being a captain,” she said. “I’m trying to help the team as much as possible, in any way that I can.”
Miller said the team’s motto doesn’t include wins or losses, but rather to exceed expectations placed upon them.
“We continue to want to build our culture not only on the court but behind the scenes,” he said, “and have one of the hardest working programs in the Big Ten.”
Someone Miller can lean on to be a leader on the team and a mentor to younger players is Chaplin, who Miller described as the “oldest women’s basketball player in the conference.”
“When she looks at the freshman class and realizes that she is six years older than them, she can help share the journey,” Miller said.
Chaplin said although she’s had to get used to her new teammates, she’s excited for the season and its potential.
“The transition has been different, but at the same time, everyone has the same goal and mindset to get better and exceed expectations,” Chaplin said.