Editor's Note: Coming off the program's first Sweet 16 appearance in the NCAA Tournament, there is a lot of anticipation for the 2011-12 women's basketball season as well as the expectations it holds. Every Tuesday throughout the summer, Assistant Director of Athletics Communications Jill Wunrow will sit down with one player to talk about the expectations they have for themselves for the upcoming season and what fans can expect to see from them individually.
Junior, Sarah Eichler (Grafton, Wis.), 5'11", F
You've had a great first half to your collegiate basketball career here at Green Bay. What do you look forward to as you begin the second half this season as a junior?
"I look forward to having fun this season, I am not feeling as much pressure on me because I have settled into the system and I have two years under my belt. I'm excited to step into the role the team needs me to fill and be as consistent as I can be."
Last season you didn't shoot the ball as well as you did your freshman campaign, do you feel you encountered the "sophomore slump" and can you pin point anything that may have been the reason for the struggles?
"I'm not really sure where the struggle came from this year as far as my shooting percentage, I felt like it wasn't my role every game to be a scorer and I took opportunities as they presented themselves but that wasn't exactly my mindset because we had such good scorers in Julie, Kayla and Celeste. I really concentrated on being consistent defensively this year."
You're not typically considered an offensive threat to your opponents and the only defensive statistics on the stat sheet are blocks and steals. You do so much more defensively that isn't on the stat sheet, explain what your defensive mindset is when you step on the floor.
"As a team we preach defense and work on it more in practice than offense. My high school system was the same way and obviously if you can keep the other team from scoring points, there is no way they can win. Defensively I would have to keep it in my head that my team needed me to be solid.
Your shooting dramatically improved throughout the month of March, averaging 9.5 points per game while leading the way shooting 94 percent from both the free throw line and 51 percent from the field. What do you attribute that success to?
"As the year went on I felt more and more a part of the team's success and I was able to find my place on the team and get into a rhythm. I knew what the team needed from me and was confident in my defensive skills so I was able to focus a more on my offensive game."
This team graduated two of the best team leaders in Kayla and Celeste. As seniors, how do you think Julie and Hannah will lead this team? What have you learned from them since your time here at Green Bay and what potential do you see in them?
"I think Julie and Hannah do have huge shoes to fill and I think they will do it very gracefully. I think the summer workouts are going great and Julie and Hannah are doing a great job keeping us motivated to work hard and working even harder themselves. I'm excited to see where the season goes under their new leadership."
What are you most looking forward to during the 2011-12 season?
"I'm mostly looking forward to just playing games in general. It's so fun to go out and fight in a game with these girls. We have a large junior class that has been playing together for two years now and a great leadership dynamic between Hannah and Julie. I'm looking forward to fighting for another conference championship."
What will you specifically work on in the off-season to improve your game?
"I'm looking to improve my three-point shooting so I can be a more reliable offensive threat. I am also working on attacking the basket more than I did last year. My entire high school career was built off the drive so I would like to bring that up to a college level. I'm also working out with the post players once a week so I can be a threat when I get inside and fight for position."
What can fans expect from Sarah Eichler during her junior campaign?
"The fans can expect the same Sarah Eichler, just with refined skills. The great thing about basketball is that skills can be developed as long as you want them to be. I just want to keep getting better and not let the fear of the pressure of letting down my teammates as an upperclassman get in the way of just playing the way I know how."
Other than basketball, what are you looking forward to doing in your spare time during the summer?
"I love the summer because it's when I get to see my sister the most. I miss being able to see her every day and when I get to go home on the weekends in the summer I hang out with her as much as I can. Other than that I'm excited for what every other person is excited for in the summer, the sun, the beach and seeing old friends."