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DEARBORN, Mich. - The University of Michigan-Dearborn women's basketball team opens up the 2016-17 season at Wilberforce University at 5:30 p.m. in Wilberforce, Ohio.
Jordan Sweeney enters his first full season as head coach of the Wolverines, who are coming off a 2-27 season overall, while finishing 2-20 in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference. Sweeney took over midway through 2015-16 as the interim head coach before being hired permanently in the offseason.
The Wolverines return several key pieces from last year's squad, including leading scorer Megan Swick (JR/Grosse Ile, Mich.). She finished her sophomore season averaging 10.2 points per game, while making a team-high 38 shots from 3-point range. Swick played in 24 games, while starting 23 and averaged 3.9 rebounds per game.
Kendall Rose (SO/Canton, MI) had a strong debut season for the Wolverines last year, averaging 8.4 points per game and finishing with a team-high 245 total points, while playing in all 29 games and starting 25. Rose had a team-high 46 assists, 48 steals and 16 blocks. She was second on the team with 5.2 rebounds per game.
The UM-Dearborn leading rebounder from 2015-16, Marisa Suave returns for her junior season at the forward position. Suave led the Wolverines with 7.1 rebounds per game, while averaging 7.9 points and totaling 25 steals.
Other key returners for the Wolverines include sophomore Arryn Dochenetz (SO/Livonia, MI), who missed most of last year with an injury, while sophomores Emily Heinrich (SO/South Lyon, MI) and Natalie Spala (SO/Livonia, MI) each add depth to the UM-Dearborn roster after gaining valuable experience in their freshman seasons.
Sophomores Micah White (SO/Harper Woods, MI) and Jenna Rogers (SO/South Lyon, MI), along with juniors Lauron Sanders (JR/Rochester, MI) and Olivia Hauser (JR/Redford, MI) each played significant minutes for the Wolverines a year ago and will look to expand their roles in 2016-17.
Newcomers to the Wolverines include a pair of junior transfers and two true freshmen. Center Bri Alspaugh (JR/St.Louis MI), who is finishing up her first season with the UM-Dearborn volleyball team, brings a strong 6-foot-1 presence to the paint after transferring from St. Clair Community College, while Kenyon College transfer Meredith Williams (JR/Novi, Mich.) figures to see time in the backcourt for the Wolverines. Freshmen Jaida Futch (FR/Dearborn Heights MI) and Jeorgia Jones (FR/Detroit MI) each come into their first season with UM-Dearborn looking to earn playing time for the Wolverines.
Sweeney said the team is excited about the start of a new season and the possibilities that it provides. The goal for UM-Dearborn in 2016-17 is to reach the .500 mark and move up to the middle of the pack in the WHAC this season.
UM-Dearborn was picked to finish the season 11th in the WHAC in the preseason coaches' poll.