DePaul coach hopes point guard Campbell finds freedom to be fearless
No basketball coach likes turnovers.
That's why DePaul women's coach Doug Bruno appreciates Kelly Campbell so much.
The senior guard plays basketball as if she has a serious aversion to turnovers. She just rarely makes them, even though she has the ball in her hands so much.
Last year, Campbell finished fifth in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio.
"Having a really good assist-to-turnover ratio is important to our team," Bruno said. "And it's important to Kelly."
But as the Blue Demons gear up for another season, which tips off Friday at Wintrust Arena against Miami of Ohio, Bruno would be OK if that assist-to-turnover ratio became just a little less important to Campbell this season. Bruno loves up-tempo, upbeat basketball, and he knows that a risk to that style is occasional mistakes.
"Pushing the ball can be dangerous, a lot of (quick) post passes can be dangerous. In a high-risk, high-reward system, there are going to be (turnovers)," Bruno said. "For a player like Kelly, to be a great lead guard, you also have to have the freedom to mess up. One of the things I've asked her to work on coming into this season is being fearless. I think she's done that."
Campbell, a candidate for the Nancy Lieberman Award for the best point guard in the country, is one of two seniors ready to lead DePaul to another run at the Big East championship.
DePaul was the unanimous choice of Big East coaches in their preseason prognostications to win the regular season conference title. The Blue Demons have won five of the last six conference regular season titles and is the reigning two-time Big East tournament champion.
Campbell and fellow senior Chante Stonewall were voted onto the preseason all-Big East team by opposing coaches. They are the only two seniors on a team loaded with young talent, including local standouts Kayla Caudle of Vernon Hills, Keke Rimmer of Proviso East and Nadege Jean of Rich South, all freshmen.
"We basically have seven returners and seven new players and on the one hand, we feel like we have a unit where we're ready for the season, but on the other, we've had to go slow to show all of these new players everything. Every single drill needs to be taught.
"But we're excited to play and we think we will be ready."
Too much Courage:
The Chicago Red Stars came up short in their bid for their first National Women's Soccer League championship by losing to the North Carolina Courage last week in the title game, 4-0.
The Red Stars, in the playoffs for the fifth straight year, were making their first finals appearance. North Carolina won its third NWSL title in the last four years.
"We proved to ourselves that we can get here," Red Stars midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo, a native of Naperville and a former star at Waubonsie Valley High School, told the Chicago Tribune. "We've been in the semifinals often but we never got over that hump. Now, this is a new hump for us to get over. We know what it takes, we're ready already to start next season."