After Julie Anderson and Angie Arnold met on a recruiting visit to Johns Hopkins, Blue Jays women's basketball would never be the same.
The Blue Jays have posted three straight 20-win seasons, gone to the NCAA Division III tournament twice and reached the Sweet two years ago -- milestones never before achieved at Hopkins.
And Anderson and Arnold are still juniors.
"I knew they were going to be a tremendous combination," said Hopkins coach Nancy Blank, who recruited both out of southeastern Pennsylvania. "I just didn't know how good."
Today, Anderson, a 5-foot-10 small forward, and Arnold, a 5-6 point guard, are considered one of the best inside-outside combinations in Division III.
The duo has the Blue Jays (21-3) on the brink of their best record in school history (Hopkins had a 22-7 mark two seasons ago). Ranked second in the Mid-Atlantic Region, the Blue Jays finished unbeaten in the Centennial Conference and will be host to a conference semifinal game Wednesday night. The conference title brings an automatic NCAA tournament bid.
Anderson, named an honorable mention Kodak All-American as a sophomore, is Hopkins' first women's basketball All-American. This year, she was a preseason first-team All-America selection by College Sports Magazine, Dick Vitale's College Basketball Preview and Women's DIII News.
On the verge of becoming the Blue Jays' first 1,000-point/1,000-rebound player, Anderson has 1,298 career points and 949 rebounds. She holds the school record for career rebounds and is seven points shy of Sylke Knuppel's all-time scoring record.
Blank still seems amazed that she managed to snare Anderson out of Unionville High in West Chester, where she played alongside top Division I recruit Payton Black, now at Duke.
"I felt like I was stealing her because I think Julie could have played at another level," Blank said. "Everybody, including the media, was focusing on Black and forgetting about this player in her shadow who was just absolutely outstanding. She had post moves, had ability to shoot the short-range shot, could create her own shots, could get open and break free in the open court. She did everything I wanted a small forward to do."
When Anderson arrived at Hopkins, she fit right in with Karen Hoffman and Lori Leonard, who held the career rebound record until last week.
Arnold, however, took the starting point guard position from veteran Amy Dodrill on the second day of practice. The move to shooting guard didn't hurt Dodrill, who went on to win the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award for the nation's best guard under 5-6 in any division.
"At the point position, Arnold has the ability to take it strong to the hoop," said Western Maryland coach Becky Martin, "or she can shoot the three-pointer at will, which is a tough combination, given her speed, to defense."
Named a preseason honorable mention All-American by Women's DIII News, Arnold also has contributed to the Blue Jays' record book. The Lancaster Catholic graduate ranks third in career scoring with 1,249 points but more importantly holds the record for career assists (398), as well as single-season assists (166).
"Angie sees the floor well all the time," Anderson said, "and she sees me. She finds me in the open spots, even sometimes when I don't know I'm open. She's a great leader for the team, and she's a great leader for me, too."
This year's success for Hopkins has not come without adjustments. With six freshmen on the team, Anderson and Arnold had to assume more responsibility.
Both have handled the added pressure well. Despite being double- and triple-teamed down low, Anderson is averaging 19.6 points and 12.0 rebounds. Arnold averages 15.5 points, 4.9 assists and 2.7 steals.
Fran Hewes, a North Carroll graduate and the team's only senior, and Jen Deaderick have been steady contributors for Hopkins, and the emergence of freshmen Marjahna Seeger and Leslie Ritter has taken a lot of pressure off Anderson and Arnold.
"With all freshmen, it takes a little while," Anderson said. "I remember as a freshman, I didn't really understand what it meant to go to the tournament. In my high school, we'd always go to postseason play, so it's hard to instill the fact that not everybody gets to go to the NCAA tournament. I definitely think we're on track now."
Pub Date: 2/24/97