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Defense, rebounding the focus for Irish

The focus is on post defense and rebounding for the Rosemount girls basketball team this year after losing four of its top five rebounders to graduation.

Brianna Connor, Paige Carter, Laura Budinger and Laurie Tyson combined to account for over 60 percent of the Irish's rebounds last season, meaning second-year head coach Sam McDonald is looking for some new faces to provide presence in the paint. The leading candidate is junior forward Elaine Warner, who earned a starting spot last year and was the No. 2 option behind Tyson while averaging 7.3 points and 4.2 rebounds per game.

Senior captain Ashley Roup could also slide into a starting spot after coming off the bench to score 2.2 points and grab two rebounds per game for last year's 11-15 team.

Other options in the post include junior centers Jennifer Fleming and Lindy Parker, senior forward Hannah Mothershead and junior forward Brooke Stevens. All four saw limited varsity action last season.

"We will really need to work and concentrate on our effort in rebounding," McDonald said. "We are not a very tall team and will need to focus on box out position and securing the ball. We also need to play defense at a high level to compete."

Ball security will be provided by a pair of returning starters at the guard spots -- junior Sara Feeser and senior captain Micaella Petrich. Feeser knocked down a team-best 47 three-pointers last season while scoring 7.3 points per game. Petrich scored 3.8 points per game before going down with an injury.

McDonald also plans to get a lot of minutes out of junior guards Rachel Hoeppner and Laura Bodurtha, as well as senior captain Abbie Bauernfeind.

The Irish start their season this weekend with a tournament at Hamline University. The first home game is next Tuesday against Rochester Century.