Leader of the pack
Senior forward Alisa Wulff moves toward the basket Nov. 9 at Breslin Center. Entering Thursday’s contest, Wulff was averaging 2.8 points and 1.8 rebounds in 15 minutes per game, picking up her first six career starts in the process.
Entering her last season, senior guard Alisa Wulff is ready to do more of what she’s been doing for the MSU women’s basketball team from the beginning — being a leader.
Through Wednesday, Wulff has started every game and has racked up 11 rebounds and added 17 points to help her team to a 5-1 record.
As one of the captains on this year’s squad, Wulff is not only looking to make an impact during the game, but also in practices and off the court as well.
“This year I hope to lead the team in winning games and just getting better each and every day, which starts in practice,” she said. “We have to get better each time we step on the court in practice and that will translate to the games.
“We’re a young team, but with hard work and dedication we’re willing to do big things this year.”
The Wulff File
- Pickering, Ontario
- Transferred to MSU from Virginia after 2003-04 season
- Former member of the Canadian Junior National Team
Source: MSU Sports Information
This is the first season Wulff has consistently been in the starting lineup, and she can now better execute her ability to lead by example, set the tempo and prove herself through her shooting and technical skills.
“I’ve put Alisa in the starting lineup out of the gates because she has tremendous work ethic, she’s very positive and she’s a great leader,” MSU head coach Suzy Merchant said. “Her intent to get the job done is there, and I think the team feeds off of that.
“She’s someone, as a coach, I feel that if I say, ‘Alisa I need you to do this (in the) game for us,’ she’ll do it. We really need her presence on the court at times, especially out of the gates.”
The confident, determined and willing attitude of this 23-year-old Pickering, Ontario native is something Merchant depends on daily.
“If anyone knows Alisa, they know that she is one with the highest character all around,” Merchant said. “The way she handles adversity, the way she accepts responsibility – I don’t know if there’s a more mature or focused player than Alisa on our team. I don’t think there is a higher compliment that can be paid than that.”
Wulff said she hopes to eventually combine her on-and-off court assets in the future, where she sees herself in Merchant’s role — a Division-I college coach.
“I know the game very well and I feel I have the personality and the determination that it takes to put in the hours it takes to be a coach,” she said. “I feel that the leadership skills I possess give me the ability to teach kids and give them the guidance to become better players.”
While she does not point out one coach in particular that has impacted her the most, she does admit to admiring different things about each coach she has played for, such as patience and the ability to listen to the players. She wants to weave those aspects into her own coaching style one day.
Wulff hopes to have the same passion and desire as Merchant.
“(Merchant) is full of heart, determination and passion,” Wulff said. “Her best asset is that she coaches with so much passion, she is very knowledgeable, but the love of the game is her strongest point.
“I truly see a little bit of myself in her in the sense that she loves the game and she goes at it each and every day like it’s a battle.”
Wulff is off to a great coaching start in terms of recruiting, having helped bring fellow Canadian and freshman standout Kalisha Keane to the Spartans squad. Wulff was Keane’s host on her official visit last year.
Despite the four-year age gap, Keane and Wulff played against each other in various Canadian leagues and have known each other for years. It didn’t hurt that Keane lives five minutes away from Wulff’s Ontario home.
“I always thought Kalisha was a great player watching her on the court,” Wulff said. “She was always the most dominant kid in Canada and I definitely thought she would be a great asset to this team.”
Wulff needs to make things happen on the court now before she can worry about becoming a coach, however. She hopes to improve her defense, especially defensive rebounding.
With this being her final season as a Spartan, Wulff hopes those improvements translate into a championship season.
“I hope to win games and championships and just leave as part of one of the best teams at MSU,” she said.