New coach Jenny Turpel is confident things will be less turbulent in the upcoming days for the Harper College women's basketball program.
After a strange off-season that saw former coach Nicole Jones leave the program at the beginning of the first semester, along with the cancellation of Monday's practice before an important early season test, a little more normalcy would be welcomed by Turpel.
Contact information ( * required )
Harper (0-2) is scheduled to play its home opener against Illinois Central College, ranked No. 2 in the NJCAA Division II poll, at 5 p.m. Tuesday. The Hawks dropped their first two games of the season, at Elgin Community College and at College of Lake County, last week.
"They will see what it's like to be at that level," Turpel said of a playing a highly ranked opponent.
The Hawks welcome back 6-foot standout Monica Hinderer (Willows Academy) to the lineup. She's had myriad four-your schools visit to watch her practice.
The coaching staff also hopes sophomore Rachel Payne (Schaumburg Christian) will step up as a second scorer; she was primarily a ballhandler last season.
"Moving her to the wing makes her more of a threat," Turpel said.
Harpers plans to run a one-in, four-out offense. It's designed to give Hinderer more space in which to operate. It will also make it more difficult for opponents to double-team her, which figures to be common.
"If the double is coming," said Turpel, "it will come from for far away."
Hinderer's defensive performance will also be key, especially in rebounding.
Depth was a problem last year, but the Hawks have a better starting point this season with 12 players on the roster -- including nine newcomers. Two fresh faces to keep an eye on are Kelli Berglund and Shante Hill.
"Kelli is long and athletic," Turpel said. "We didn't have a player like that last year."
Turpel expects Hill can be a viable scoring threat for a program that is keeping its goals straightforward.
"We can be an above .500 team," Turpel said.