As they start the 2002-03 season, the Georgetown women’s basketball team has the one thing it lacked last year: its health.

Head Coach Pat Knapp’s injury-plagued squad managed to go only 12-16 last season despite some strong showings when the team was healthy. Junior forward and leading scorer Rebekkah Brunson was out for six weeks with a stress fracture in her lower leg. Junior forward Varda Tamoulianis, an important inside force for the Hoyas, missed the entire season because of a knee injury.

But with two preseason games under its belt and the season debut on Nov. 22, the team is healthy, and its newcomers look strong.

Although Brunson and sophomore guard Mary Lisicky will be looked to to lead the team again, the rest of the starting lineup is less certain. Several newcomers seem to have the potential to make an immediate impact on the team. Junior guard Sarah Jenkins and freshman forward Carmen Bruce both started in the Hoyas’ first preseason matchup.

Jenkins sat out last season after transferring from Maryland. She will provide Lisicky with rest at the point guard spot and also see playing time as the shooting guard. Knapp said he will be looking to her for some long-range shots.

The 5-foot-10 Bruce comes to Georgetown from Schenley High School in Pittsburgh, where she led her team to three city championships. She is the daughter of former Pittsburgh women’s basketball Head Coach Kirk Bruce. She will take defensive attention away from Brunson in the frontcourt.

Also joining the Hoyas are junior guard Narumol Berggren and freshman swingman Leslie Tyburski. Berggren transferred from Seminole Community College, where she was an honorable mention selection to the Mid-Florida All-Conference Team. She will most likely provide a backup for Lisicky as floor general. Tyburski graduated from Gavit High School in Hammond, Ind., as the all-time leading scorer. At 5-foot-10, she can play either guard or forward.

The Hoyas’ goal this season, according to Knapp, will be to make the NCAA tournament, something they have not accomplished since the 1992-93 season. Although they have set a high goal for themselves, Knapp said they could expect to finish in the top half of the league.

Knapp is instituting a new motion offense in an attempt to distract opposing defenses that will be tempted to focus their attention on Brunson.

“What we’re trying to do is make sure that Becky plays inside and outside. So you’re going to see her playing some guard as well as posting up. We’re trying to make Becky flexible,” he said.

The low post will be maintained by Tamoulianis, senior Zsuzsanna Horvath and senior forward Nok Duany, who had something of a breakout season last year, finishing with the most total points and rebounds on the team. Knapp hinted that she might become even more of an offensive threat. “Nok’s hitting her fair share of jumpers,” he said, “so she’s not limited.”

“We should get the ball inside and play strong in the post,” he said.

While the Hoyas appear to have their offensive bases covered, their weaknesses last season proved to be defense and rebounding; they will have to improve in those areas to reach their goals.

Their schedule is not an easy one. In addition to their usually difficult Big East schedule, they face non-conference opponents Indiana, George Mason, Virginia and George Washington, among others. Their conference schedule features two contests against defending NCAA champs Connecticut and two against a Syracuse team that reached the NCAA Tournament in 2002.

The Hoyas open their season against Colgate on Nov. 22 at 7 p.m. in McDonough Gymnasium. Tickets are available for $2 to students, or in a season ticket package of 13 games for $20.

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