It’s almost impossible to have a conversation about Tigers basketball without mentioning a Stammberger. It's a family affair: Anna Stammberger, head coach of the women’s basketball program, is the mother of two Tigers basketball players, Sven and Tessa.
Last season we saw the emergence of Sven Stammberger, who had a prominent role in the Tigers AUS championship run.
This year it is fifth-year Tessa Stammberger emerging as one of the elite players in the nation. Tessa’s recent success is no surprise to anyone as she has been a top three offensive contributor for the Tigers over the past three years but she has taken her game to another level this season.
Tessa attributes her success to working hard in the off-season. “All the hours put in in the gym during the summer has increased my confidence,” says Tessa. “I worked on lots of different aspects of my game which has allowed me to be pretty versatile on offence and defence.”
Carrying the load
With the departure of last seasons CIS leading scorer, Courtney Thompson, Stammberger has been relied on to carry the lion share of the offence. Tessa is averaging 18.8 points per game this season, seventh best in the nation. In contrast Stammberger was averaging 11.8 points per game last season.
Versatility is probably the best way to describe the undisputed leader of the Tigers. Her stat lines prove why she is a matchup nightmare for opposing teams. This season Tessa is averaging 7.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and two steals per game. Not to mention she shoots 43.1% from the arc and leads the AUS in three point shots made.
Stammberger’s contribution to her team extends far past her production on the court. Her leadership may be just as essential to her team as her on-court play. The Tigers have one of the youngest teams in the AUS with seven players in their first two years of eligibility.
Being the only fifth-year senior on the squad, Tessa has embraced her leadership role to her younger teammates.
“I really enjoy having a leadership role on the team, especially with the group of players that are on the team this year. We all get along great and love working together every day,” she says.
Expectations for the women’s basketball team were very low this year. In the first ever pre-season coach’s poll, the Tigers were projected to finish last in the AUS with just 10 points.
With seven games remaining in the Tigers AUS regular season, including four four-point games, Dalhousie sits in fifth place with 14 points.
A large part of this unexpected success has to be attributed to the elevated play of Stammberger. The attention she garners from the opposing team’s defence has opened up the floor for the likes of Ainsley MacIntyre and Sophie Gaube who are averaging 9.3 and six points per game, respectively.
Currently, the Tigers have a comfortable six-point buffer on teams sitting outside the playoff picture. Anything can happen in the AUS basketball season, but it looks as though the Tigers are poised for a playoff berth.
When asked what it will take to make the playoffs Tessa said, “We need to consistently be aggressive on the rebounds and play more physically overall. We are also getting in the gym to get lots of shots up to improve our offensive output.”
Your next chance to catch Tessa and the women’s basketball team in action is Saturday, January 30 at the Scotiabank Centre.
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