Senior center Lisa Jakubowicz will start the 2001-2002 season in tip-top shape, thanks to her busy summer schedule.
The 6-foot-1-inch Jakubowicz, along with the rest of her teammates, engaged in off-season workout programs that had them lifting weights and running sprints and miles on a routine basis.
In addition, Jakubowicz would shoot at least 100 free-throws a week. Last season Jakubowicz led the team in free-throw percentage shooting 66 percent, which was 11th best in the conference.
But the oft foul-prone center mainly concentrated on improving on her perimeter game and finding her shot from outside the key. She was able to work on that in the Philadelphia Summer League which features NCAA players of past and present.
“I did pretty well this summer,” Jakubowicz said. “I’ve been doing it since high school. My post moves have gotten a lot better.”
Jakubowicz will start at center this season. When she steps on the court she will be the tallest of her teammates, but will probably be smaller than the opponent she will be matched up against.
It’s no secret that the Owls lack height. And that is probably the reason why they signed Heather Jones and Rachel Marcus, two highly-touted freshman centers both standing at 6-foot-3-inches.
Jakubowicz may not need to worry about her playing time yet, but while she continues to take the two under her wing during their transition to college and a faster, more physical game, don’t be surprised to see either one of them steal some time from the senior.
The point is simple: if Jakubowicz wants to keep her position down low, then she will have to stay off the bench and stay out of foul trouble.
That might prove to be a task in itself. Coach Dawn Staley said her go-to is the man-to-man defense.
Although she averaged 1.8 steals a game last season, guarding on the block will be Jakubowicz’ challenge to avoid a whistle-blowing bonanza by the referees. This is something she couldn’t dodge last season, committing a whopping 97 personal fouls.
“We need her to stay in the game, that’s most important,” Staley said. “She can’t pick up cheap fouls and sit for a half. She understands that she needs to be out on the basketball court for us to be successful and she can’t do that when she picks up two fouls in the first half.”
Jakubowicz knows that she is being counted on in this, her last season. And she knows that through maturity, leadership, and the constant reminders from teammates and the coaching staff.
With the training over the summer Jakubowicz will be in shape, less fatigued, quicker on her feet, and able to use her long arms to the best of her ability.
Jakubowicz knows how she will contribute to the team.
“I need to be a big presence down low, and I know I can’t do that from the bench,” she said. “I need to stay in the game.”