Freshmen transition to college game

Ryan Nilsson

“I think they all struggle along the way with missing home,” Mitchell said. “We started a tradition a couple years ago where the weekend before practice starts I insist that they go home.

“At first Danielle and Jasmine weren’t going to do it. I sat them down and said, ‘Go home. Find a way, go home.’ And they did, and it was the best thing for them.”

Kamm, the recipient of the Michigan Miss Basketball award during her senior year of high school, agreed with her coach.

“I think it was really good to see my family before the season started,” Kamm said. “I got to see my mom and my dad and my friends.

“I wasn’t planning on (going) home until Christmas so it was good just to see them again and the things I started to miss. I got one last time before … Christmas to see them and talk to them and relax.”

The freshmen players’ current homes are also helping them adjust to college life. Kamm lives with sophomore guard Carolyn Kieger, while Quaye and McCullough are roommates.

“It’s great because we know each other’s schedule, we know what we have to do, and we keep each other (on task),” McCullough said. “We know we have practice and stuff so we say, ‘Wake me up when this time comes so we can leave,'” she said. “We keep track of each other and make sure we’re doing the right things: studying and playing basketball.”

Basketball was a part of their college lives even before team practices got underway Oct. 18.

The freshmen had individual practices twice a week and weightlifting three times a week. Kamm felt the early-season training was advantageous because it allowed her to develop rapport with the coaching staff and learn some of the practice drills.

Quaye, named an honorable mention All-American by Street & Smith’s magazine before her final year of high school, will have the added advantage of working alongside sophomore Sarah Shouse and junior Monica Frede throughout the season. The three are expected to split the minutes at center opened up by the graduation of Rachel Klug.

Center-by-committee is “great — we all try to work hard to make each other better, we point out things that we think the other people need to improve on and just try to help each other out as much as possible,” Quaye said.

Despite assistance on and off the court, the three freshmen learned right away that college basketball is a little different than high school and AAU basketball.

“There’s a lot that goes on in practice,” Mitchell said. “Jasmine even said, ‘We did more in the first week of practice than I did in a year.'”

Mitchell noted that the three have to improve their defense and adjust to playing offense in college. What was an open shot in high school is not going to be in a college game and she is encouraging the newcomers to find ways to score with someone in their face.

Once the three become more comfortable on the college hardwood, McCullough has high expectations for herself and her fellow freshman.

“I think once we … all read each other like we should, we should make a big contribution to the team by the end of the season,” she said.