Season Preview: Women's Basketball
WILMORE, Ky. - The Asbury women’s basketball team is already 2-1 this season, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take the time to get to know this version of the Eagles before they take to the court against Kentucky Christian tonight.
Last season’s veteran led team is no more. Trenia Barbee, Laura Carroll, Dorian Downs, and Lakin Griffith—the Eagles’ top-four scorers—graduated. Their 57.9 points per game are gone.
But head coach Bart Flener said he has high hopes for this season’s group of players.
“We have several players who contributed heavily to last year’s success,” Flener said. “I believe they are ready to take on a more substantial role for this year’s team.”
Flener is going to rely on his two senior captains and a host of new contributors to try to track down a KIAC Championship and a trip to the national tournament.
“We were picked fourth of ten teams in the preseason and we look forward to the challenge of chasing a conference title and a trip to Iowa to the national tournament,” Flener added.
A look back at 2012-13
The 2012-13 Asbury women’s basketball team was veteran-led and senior heavy. The Eagles started five seniors on the court most nights and that led them to a program-best number of wins and a chance at a KIAC Championship with an appearance in the championship game.
Those Eagles put up a 23-10 record overall, including a 10-5 record in conference play.
On the perimeter with the guards
Annissia Wood and Kylee Gorby are the elderstatesmen and have seen the most game action in the past.
“Both players stepped up last season to fill in after Chelsea Williams ’13 went down with a season ending injury in December,” Flener said. “They both bring athleticism and size to the guard position along with excellent defense and an ability to penetrate.”
Juniors Julie Jarboe and TJ Edmunds will provide additional upperclassmen depth at the guard position.
Sophomores Catie Fletcher, Sara Sticklen, Cassidy Flynn and Savannah could all see time at the guard position as well. So far this season Fletcher has shown she has the ability to be a leader on this squad.
Versatility with the forwards
Ellie Steiner and Sam Burr—this season’s only seniors—are the captains on the team. They provide the experience at the forward position as both have seen some time in the past.
Steiner provides some long range ability as one of the Eagles’ best outside shooters. She has big shoes to fill, however, as the Eagles have graduated the number one and two 3-point shooters in each of the last two seasons in Ellen Gray and Dorian Downs. Coach Flener believes that Steiner will help the Eagles continue their excellent shooting tradition.
Burr provides a good balance as a combination forward for the Eagles. Her outside shooting ability from beyond the arc proves just as dangerous as her post play.
In the paint with the post players
Kelli Rinehart returns as a player that played some valuable minutes for the Eagles off the bench last season. Despite her unconventional inside post size, she has proved she can be an effective scorer and offensive facilitator. Last season, Rinehart averaged about 12 minutes per game, scoring 4.2 PPG in the time she saw.
The New Kids on the Block
Ten freshmen joined the roster this season for the Eagles, hoping to fill some of the voids from the departed senior class.
Coach Flener says his depth gained for the post players have been most significant. Kali Whiteside and Heather Jolley have been vying for time through three games and both have provided dividends.
“Both players bring size and athleticism inside,” Flener said. “As they progress in experience they will help this team succeed throughout the season.”
Brittany Warren leads the freshmen class through three games with 7.3 PPG after an illustrious high school career.
Other new faces include Haley Warren, Alisha Durbin, AJ Lewis, Keria Lockett, and Sade Greer—all hoping to see some time by season’s end and provided depth in the lineup.
A Look at the Schedule
The Eagles open with a full slate of away games before opening their home season with a game Nov. 22 against Principia College. Coach Flener thinks the Eagles will be a better team after their tough opening schedule readying them for conference play.
“We will play 17 conference games this season and our goal is to compete for the regular season title and then advance to the conference championship.”
The Eagles’ conference schedule opens with Indiana-Southeast here in Wilmore on Dec. 3. Seven of their first eight conference games will be played here in Wilmore.
For more information on the women’s basketball team stay tuned to AsburyEagles.com. For more on Asbury athletics and to stay up on all of the action follow the Eagles on Twitter (@Asbury_Eagles) or on Facebook (Asbury Eagles).