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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • New season, style for Saint Mary women's basketball

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  • Team: Saint Mary women's basketball
    Last year's record: 13-18
    Coach: Michael Basler
    Coach's record: 69-165
    Key returnees:
    Kendra Mattox, senior forward; the returning starter averaged nine points, four rebounds last season after starting all 31 games
    Shelby Watson, senior guard/forward; after starting every contest last year, the versatile player averaged seven points and six rebounds
    Annie Rowan, senior point guard; the upper-class starter tallied 79 assists in 2011-12 to lead the NAIA Division II in assist/turnover ratio
    Jordan VanNess, junior guard; the fourth returning starter for USM compiled five points, two rebounds a contest last season as well as a 43 percent clip from behind the 3-point line
    Adelyn Ezeh, junior point guard; Ezeh led the Lady Spires in assists last year with 84
    Tracie Weege, senior guard; in 31 games, Weege nailed 43 3-pointers
    Korbynn Stallbaumber, junior forward; the forward averaged five points, four rebounds a year ago
    Newcomers to watch:
    Bailey Hooker, freshman center from Basehor-Linwood
    Erin Marx, freshman forward from Bonner Springs
    Allison Zaldivar, freshman point guard from Santa Fe Trails
    Team Outlook: STRENGTHS — The Lady Spires are deep with experience as 11 of its 17 players are either juniors or seniors.
    With four of its five starters returning from last season, the squad's leadership and chemistry will be a key asset.
    WEAKNESSES — The team loses all-conference forward Jasmine Johnson from its ranks and thus have switched to a more up-tempo paced game to fit its personnel. Like any transition, there will be growing pains.
    Big games: At College of St. Mary, Nov. 1 (2011-12 NAIA Div. II tournament qualifier);at Friends University, Dec. 1 (2011-12 KCAC champions); vs. Sterling College, Dec. 8 (2011-12 KCAC tournament champs); at Southwestern College, Jan. 17 (2011-12 NAIA Div. II tournament qualifier); vs. Ottawa University, Feb. 14
    Coach says: "We lost Jasmine Johnson, who led the KCAC in rebounds, blocks, field goal percentage and was third in scoring in the league with 14 points per game. Jasmine was a first-team unanimous All-KCAC and All-Defensive team selection, she was a big part of our daily game plan. With her gone now we look to our upperclassmen to step up and lead this team.
    "We have changed our style of play from a year ago and the benefits have already been greatly seen and our team is more explosive. We are playing a more up-tempo style and we are playing quicker in the shot clock and giving a lot more freedom to our players to make plays. We have to continue to grow and improve each day we practice to maximize our team's strengths."

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