Wildcats’ guard takes charge

By Nader Ihmoud

While Karly Roser said no one has inspired her to play, her drive to make her dad, McMaster University basketball great, Dave Roser, proud is what motivates her on the court.

Roser, 18, has worked hard this season to better her game so she can compete with the tough competition that comes with being a Division I athlete.

“I just always wanted to get better for my dad because he taught me everything I know,” she said.

Roser had quite a few accomplishments under her belt prior to starting her career at Northwestern. She led her high school team to the Hamilton, Ontario Catholic Senior Girls’ Basketball Championship and was captain of the Canadian U-17 national team that placed 11th in the Federal International Basketball Association World Championships in France.

Northwestern’s respected education department and up-and-coming basketball program lured the talented guard to Evanston.

She started her athletic career at Northwestern Nov. 11, 2011, by playing 33 of the game’s 40 minutes while scoring 10 points, dishing out eight assists and grabbing five steals in a win against the Central Michigan University Chippewas.

Roser said she quickly learned the difference between high school, international and collegiate level basketball.

“The biggest difference is the athleticism of the girls,” she said. “Especially down in the United States, the girls are a lot bigger and stronger.”

Although Northwestern Head Coach Joe McKeown told Roser she would have an important role with the Wildcats, she did not expect as much playing time as she got.

“After [junior guard] Inesha Hale got hurt, I was basically the only true point guard on the team,” Roser said. “I had to step up and play a big role for us.”

Her responsibilities grew following the sixth game of the season, when the team lost its leader, senior forward Brittany Orban, to a season-ending injury. Orban did every tangible thing asked of her, according to McKeown.

“She gave [the team] glue and hated to lose,” he said. “[She] wanted to guard the best player on the other team. We miss her toughness, but every team has to fight through those things.”

McKeown refused to make excuses for his team and instead looked to the players who were healthy and able to step up for their teammates.

After getting off to a 5-1 start without Orban in the lineup, the Wildcats finished their non-conference schedule winning five of their next seven games. Sitting at 10-3, the Wildcats felt strongly about the rest of the season going into conference play.

Although confidence was a common feeling for Roser and her teammates, they knew the Big Ten was a gritty conference and the games would get more physical. Roser, not known as a shooter, said her biggest moment came during that tough stretch.

The team was coming off one of its first bad runs of the season, losing three of four games before heading into their Jan. 16 matchup with the University of Illinois Fighting Illini. The game came down to Roser’s two free throw attempts. She had gotten fouled on the Wildcats’ final possession of the game and afterward said she did not want to be the one shooting.

After missing her first attempt, McKeown called a time out and gave his freshman a hug. She drained the winning basket.

The Wildcats finished winning only four of the team’s 16 conference games and did not finish with a winning record.

The team did not end the season as hoped but has four of its original five starters returning next season. When the 2012–2013 season rolls around, Roser hopes to have improved several parts of her game, such as her lateral movement and her shooting.

Roser, who averaged seven shots per game, said she’s going to watch some film to become aware of situations where she is able to take some shots.