Nanook Highlight: Women’s basketball prepares for new season

Kurtis Gosney/Sun Star Reporter
Nov. 5, 2013

Senior forward and Justice student Ruth O'Neal prepares for a rebound against her former teammate, Tori Durham who is a Communication student. Kurtis Gosney/ Sun Star

Senior forward and Justice student Ruth O’Neal prepares for a rebound against her former teammate, Tori Durham who is a Communication student. Kurtis Gosney/Sun Star

The UAF Women’s Basketball team began the 2013-2014 season last Saturday, playing in the annual Alumni game at the Patty Center.

This is Cody Bench’s fourth year as the head coach for the Nanooks as she tries to help her team from a year ago. The Nanooks won five games last season and lost 21.

Two players from last year are no longer with the team: Guard and justice student Taylor Altenburg and forward and Business Administration student Jacqueline Lovato. Altenburg was the Nanooks’ leading scorer last year, averaging just under 10 points per game. Lovato was the leading three-point shooter for the Nanooks last year, netting 39.

Five players have returned from last year’s squad: Junior point guard and Communications student Benissa Bulaya, junior guard and journalism student Kelly Logue, sophomore guard and General Studies student Brianna Kirk, senior forward and Business Administration student Samantha Thornton and senior forward and Justice student Ruth O’Neal.

Bulaya is a quick guard that likes to push the ball up the court whenever she has the chance. The problem with that is, however, she finished last year with 100 turnovers, four per game. She will need to reduce that number a little bit if her team wants to improve. Bulaya was the team’s second leading scorer, though, averaging about eight points per game.

Logue is a good leader for the Nanooks who plays hard and tries to do anything she can to help her team win. Her biggest challenge, though, has been her jump shot. It’s a good shot, but has been inconsistent at times. If Logue can improve on that part of her game this year, that will help the Nanooks a lot.

Bulaya and Logue will be in the backcourt for the Nanooks, while Thornton and O’Neal work from inside the paint. Thornton scored at least 10 points in her final five games last year and O’Neal scored in double-figures twice.

The Nanooks’ first regular-season matchup will take place on Saturday, Nov. 8 when they host the Western New Mexico University Mustangs at the Patty Center at 5:15 p.m.

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