Coach: Rob Walker, 85-38 in sixth year at school
Assistants: Bill Drook, Libbie Gilliland, Nicole Wilczynski, Maggie Burton, Al Ott
Last year: 16-8 (4-3 Duneland Conference); lost 55-33 to Penn in Class 4A Mishawaka Sectional final
Key losses: Riley Ott (17.2 ppg., 4.5 rpg., 3.3 apg., 3.2 spg.), Keatyn Boren (6.8 ppg., 4.9 rpg.)
Key returning players: Ryin Ott (15.6 ppg., 9.4 rpg., 1.3 spg.), Asad (5.8 ppg., 3.5 rpg., 2.0 apg., 1.9 spg.), Jones (6.7 ppg., 3.5 apg., 3.0 rpg.), Pollock (1.2 ppg., 2.5 rpg.)
Key newcomers: Linn, Coates.
Outlook: With a daunting schedule and the graduation of Indiana All-Star point guard Riley Ott to graduation, the Slicers face a stiff test. "We've got a very, very tough conference," Walker said. "Crown Point is a top five team in the state. Portage is in the top 20. Merrillville is going to be really good by the end of the season. We have a very top-heavy tough schedule." La Porte also added Munsterm besides the Valparaiso Tournament on Jan. 3 in which it'll meet Fort Wayne South. "Hopefully that gets us ready for tournament time," Walker said. The early part of the season might be more challenging, as the players adjust without Riley Ott and face Penn and the Mustangs this week. Ryin Ott, Asad, Jones and Pollock are crucial returners. "Lauren Pollock has been a huge difference maker over the summer, being 6-3 with a 6-5 wingspan," Walker said. "She's going to take all kinds of pressure off our guards and Ryin Ott. If she can clean up around the basket and get those rebounds... She's gotten stronger, more confident. She's going to be a matchup headache for most teams we play." Most importantly, though, is how the team will respond after losing Riley Ott, now at Purdue Fort Wayne. "The high-leverage situations is when Riley was at her best," Walker said. "This year, we've got to find somebody at the end of the game who will know when to pass it, know when to hold it, and make the right decisions. That's the biggest void Riley left, high-leverage situations. Right now, we have the players to do it. We've got to find out if they can do it."
-- compiled by Zack Eldridge