BOWLING GREEN — It has been more than a month since Robyn Fralick took charge as the new women’s basketball coach at Bowling Green State University, but her focus has been on three things: meeting current players, hiring staff, and recruiting new players.
“It might take me a while to figure out my voicemail,” she said, laughing. “That’s what transitions are — there’s a lot of different things going on at the same time. That’s anticipated.
“But it’s been a great whirlwind. My focus when I came here was to spend time with the team, and I have before they left for the summer.”
Fralick said her focus since her April 4 introductory news conference as the replacement for Jennifer Roos has been on connecting with her team before finals ended last week.
“These are the people we’re going to be doing ‘life’ with, so making connections and getting to know them is important,” she said. “They don’t know me, and I didn’t know them in a way that was meaningful, so I’ve spent time together with them on and off the court.”
Besides graduated seniors Rachel Myers and Haley Puk, the Falcons have lost two other players from last season’s team, which finished 11-19 overall and 3-15 in Mid-American Conference play. Carly Santoro will be a graduate transfer at Ohio State next season, while guard Kennedy Williams is transferring to Division II Southern Indiana.
But 10 players who saw action last season remain, and Memphis transfer Alyssa Dean will become eligible when the fall semester ends in December.
“With coaching changes, all sorts of things can happen,” Fralick said. “But the girls we have coming back are a great group with great spirit.
“It has been good that I have not had to recruit a whole new team. That can be tricky.”
Three recruits signed during the early period — guards Kadie Hempfling (Ottawa-Glandorf High) and Morgan McMillen along with forward Sydney Palermo — remain committed to the program.
“When I got the job, one of the first things I did was to connect with those recruits,” Fralick said. “I’ve recruited Ohio, so I was familiar with them.
“But they are eager to come here, and I think that speaks well about the program and the school. They’re committed and excited, and I’m excited to connect with them.”
The Falcons also recently added a fourth recruit when Molly Dever from St. Joseph Academy in Cleveland announced on Twitter she was joining the program. Dever averaged 14.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 3.3 steals per game in leading the Jaguars to a 20-6 record and the school’s first district title.
The 5-foot-9 Dever was a third-team all-district choice in Division I last season.
Fralick said she has looked at film of last year’s team, but she also was quick to say her decisions on personnel won’t be based on that film.
“I’ve been intentional about the fact that I want to come in with fresh eyes,” she said. “I want to focus on what is right in front of me.
“They are fresh to me, and I am fresh to them, so we are evaluating on what we see right in front of us.”
Fralick announced two assistant coaching hires Thursday in Kim Cameron and Karmen Graham.
Cameron spent the past eight seasons as the head coach at Michigan Tech, a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference rival of Ashland University, Fralick’s former school. Cameron compiled a 181-53 record there, including a 23-6 mark last season, and she led the Huskies to the NCAA Division II title game in 2010-11 as well as three other NCAA tournament appearances.
Graham spent last season as an assistant coach at Belmont University, which advanced to the NCAA tournament and finished 31-4. Before that Graham was an assistant coach at Northern Kentucky, her alma mater, for five seasons and was a graduate assistant at Ashland in 2008-09, Fralick’s first season as an assistant there.
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Fralick retained Monique Rosati, the Falcons’ director of basketball operations the past 11 years, and video coordinator Amanda Cutcher.
“Having them has really been helpful in this transition,” Fralick said. “Monique knows everything and has pointed me in the right direction for a lot of things.”
When asked what style of play the Falcons would employ this coming season, Fralick responded with a cryptic, “We’ll see.”
“I have a preference on how I’d like to play, but I also have to do what’s best for the team,” she said. “For example, at Ashland we won the national championship in 2013 by playing half-court offense. In 2017 when we won the national championship, we pressed full-court for 40 minutes.”
Fralick added that while those teams played different styles, they employed similar concepts and enjoyed similar success.
“Offensively, we run high-low ball screens and high-low motion,” Fralick said. “The way we played was based on spacing and the types of passes and plays. Defensively, the idea was always to build a unit, whether it was a full-court pressure unit or a half-court unit. And the way you build a unit is similar. …
“And our culture and foundational values were always the same. If those are the same, and if people will live them out, the basketball stuff will come easily.”
How close is the culture to being where Fralick wants it to be? She said that remains a process.
“Genuine championship culture is a process, and they’ve only known me for a few weeks,” she said. “It takes time.
“It’s something we’re talking about and working on every day.”
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