Dorian Freeman knew her role the past three seasons.
Her job wasn't particularly glamorous, but the Greenbrier forward knew what was expected of her in the Wolfpack's guard-heavy system: play solid defense, rebound the ball and get it to her backcourt teammates.
"That had been the role since freshman year," Freeman said. "I just kind of got used to it. "
The game plan changed for Freeman's senior season. First-year head coach Dana Bull has placed an emphasis on post play, and Freeman and 6-foot-1 teammate Ashli Clark have seen increased roles.
The main difference: Bull wants Freeman to score.
Entering the Wolfpack's Jan. 23 win against Union Grove, Freeman was averaging eight points and eight rebounds per game. She posted double-doubles in wins over Luella on Jan. 9 and Douglass on Jan. 17.
Freeman's role change has been a product of the personnel. With standouts Sara Oland and Kaila Hunt in the backcourt last season, former Wolfpack coach Garrett Black implemented a running style that was heavy on defensive pressure and transition points.
After Oland graduated, Bull sought to even the scoring load. Freeman's senior teammate, guard Ayanna Fairbanks, has had a breakout season for the Wolfpack. She has the athleticism to get to the basket and free herself for jump shots.
But Bull still wants more emphasis on the post. She said she has had to work with her players on making a proper interior pass.
"It took them a little while, but they bought into the system," Bull said. "They've realized how effective it is to get it inside. "
The 5-foot-9 Freeman doesn't camp out inside.
She uses her athleticism on the perimeter as well. Many of her baskets come from put-backs off rebounds, but she isn't afraid to shoot from the outside when the opportunity arises.
Having shooting options would have been a foreign concept last season. But Freeman said she gradually grew accustomed to it since being told during the summer she would be expected to score more.
"I look to take my shot first," Freeman said. "But I never want to be a selfish player. If I know it's not there, I'll hit my guards before I even make a move."
Freeman's more aggressive style leads to multiple trips to the free-throw line. And she admits free-throw shooting is an area in which she can improve. But there haven't been many complaints from Bull about her senior.
"She's extremely athletic and extremely quick," Bull said. "She makes great moves."
Bull said the challenge has been harnessing those moves. After being primarily a defensive presence and rebounder the past few seasons, there wasn't much incentive for Freeman to fine-tune her offensive skills.
But that's one of the biggest improvements to Freeman's game this season. And she's hoping it can lead to a chance to play at the next level.
"I love basketball," She said. "It would be really bad for me to have to give it up after this year."
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