Upper Arlington girls basketball coach Chris Savage didn't shy away from what he considers the biggest question surrounding this year's team: how to replace the program's all-time leading scorer in Macy Spielman.
Savage, who is in his 13th season, isn't worried about his team from a defensive standpoint, but making up for the 20.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.1 steals lost to graduation with Spielman, who now plays for Bowling Green, is another matter.
"We have to kind of reinvent ourselves a little bit," said Savage, whose team opened Nov. 22 at Pickerington North. "Macy was a huge part of our identity the past four years. We'll have to share a lot more of the scoring responsibilities this year. That's something we will have to figure out as a unit. We have a good mix of (every class) vying for varsity time. There are a lot of spots open. There's a lot of competition. It's been a fun start, but it's a challenging start."
Senior forwards Erisa Pippins and Adrienne Wachtman, both of whom stand 5-foot-10, are among several returnees expected to pace UA. Wachtman averaged 7.9 points and 4.6 rebounds last season and Pippins, an Otterbein recruit, added 6.3 points and 6.6 rebounds.
Wachtman hoped to play in the season opener despite rolling her left ankle Nov. 7.
Senior guard Valerie Feller (5-6) sustained a high right ankle sprain during a scrimmage Nov. 13 and was in a walking boot the next day, but expected to play by this week.
Last season, the Bears went 19-7 overall and 8-2 in the OCC-Central Division and reached a Division I district final before losing to Reynoldsburg 61-32.
"We're a young team, so everybody is trying to figure out everything and how to work together. There is a lot of good chemistry," Feller said.
"Our main problem will be scoring. We'll be a defensive team and a high-energy team.
"We definitely need to get more shots up just to gain more confidence. Offensive rebounding should help us immensely."
Spielman finished her career with 1,622 points and 348 assists, both program records, and earned second-team all-state honors last year.
This will be the first season since 2009-10 that UA does not have at least one Division I recruit on the roster, a lineage that in addition to Spielman included Andi Norman (Dartmouth, 2010-14) and Kortney Eisenman (Georgia, 2012-16).
UA's other returnees are seniors Carly Casto (5-10, forward), Alex Criss (5-10, forward) and Riley Kuehn (5-7, forward) and junior Annie Hargraves (5-6, point guard), an Ohio State lacrosse commit.
Kuehn signed Nov. 13 to play lacrosse at Dickinson.
"(Hargraves) is one of the best defenders I've ever coached," Savage said. "She's also our fastest player. We'll ask her to do a lot."
Rounding out the roster are junior Gabriella Guy (5-10, forward), sophomores Sophie Esquinas (5-5, guard) and Alyssa Gest (5-6, guard) and freshmen Caroline Guy (6-0, guard), Grayson Guy (6-0, guard) and Ceylone Reighard (5-8, guard).
"I am moving to more of a guard position because we have a lot of posts this year, which is a good problem to have. Size is something we've lacked," Wachtman said. "We're still not the tallest team, but having that option of having a lot of posts is really nice."
UA's home opener was Nov. 26 against Watterson.
The Bears begin OCC-Central play Tuesday, Dec. 3, at Dublin Coffman. UA finished second in the league last season behind the Shamrocks (10-0).