NewsYoung Lady Cougars Ready to Take the Court in 2002-2003
written by Dave Parsons, Sports Information Director
MOUNT VERNON, Ohio - For the second straight year, the Mount Vernon Nazarene University women's basketball team will be forced to count on its underclassmen heavily as the Lady Cougars get set to open the 2002-2003 season.
With only six healthy returning players on this year's roster, head coach Steve Gregory is cautiously optimistic about his team's chances in the new season.
"You would think that after last year's 8-18 overall record the youth movement would be over," said Gregory, who has compiled a 64-60 overall record at MVNU as he enters his fifth season. "I surely expected that to be the case. However, at the end of the season last year, we lost eight players. Then, we lost Jenny Slack, who would have started, to an ACL injury this fall."
"Still, I am optimistic about this group," Gregory said. "There will be plenty of youth interjected with a couple of key upperclassmen. The new players will have to learn our system quickly and they will be asked to perform like upperclassmen. We will also need to stay healthy if we want to stay competitive throughout the season."
Senior guard Jenni Davis (5-foot-6) returns for her final season and will be counted on heavily for her leadership and her ability to make plays. A strong outside shooter, Davis averaged 9.1 points as a junior and nailed a team-high 44 three-pointers. She was also the team's best free throw shooter as she nailed 83.3 percent of her free throw attempts.
Junior guard/forward Susan Adams (5-foot-9) will also be counted on to step up her game from a year ago. She is a good perimeter shooter who can also slash to the basket and rebound inside. Adams averaged 11.3 points and a team-high 7.3 rebounds per game last year as she was named to the National Christian College Athletic Association East Region Second Team.
From there, the youth movement begins. Sophomore Amy Myers (5-foot-5) returns to run the point guard position after starting the final 10 games as a freshman. She is a strong threat from the three-point arc where she nailed 20 treys a year ago, and she has adjusted well to the significant system changes that have taken place.
Junior Lisa Weller (5-foot-6) will compete for the starting three-guard position after averaging 4.6 points and nailing 32 treys off the bench last season. She has great range from the outside and has shot well during the preseason. Junior Kirstin Lawson (5-foot-6) will also see action at the point guard and shooting guard positions. Lawson, who transferred to MVNU after two seasons at Southeastern Illinois College, is very quick and can make plays at both ends of the floor. Sophomore Joni Peelman (5-foot-7) and freshman Katie Baer (5-foot-6) will also provide depth at the guard positions.
The center position will be filled by 6-foot-3 sophomore Melanie Gosnell. After seeing limited action in 12 games last year, Gosnell has worked hard to improve her game significantly and is playing with a lot more confidence. She will be backed up by 6-foot-1 freshman Erin Arnett, who was an All-Conference First Team selection as a senior at Miamisburg High School, and 6-foot senior Amanda Triplett, who spent the past four years as a standout on the MVNU volleyball and softball teams.
Sophomore Britney Beavers (6-foot) will be one of the first options at the power forward position. Beavers' biggest weakness right now is her lack of game experience (seven minutes total in four games last year), but she has worked hard in the off-season and improved her perimeter skills and low block play. Arnett and Triplett will also add depth at this position.
MVNU will be challenged every time out in the highly competitive American Mideast Conference South Division as the Lady Cougars will play Cedarville University, Malone College, Ohio Dominican University, University of Rio Grande, Shawnee State University, Tiffin University, Urbana University, Walsh University, and Wilberforce University both home and away. The team will also play non-conference games against Ursuline College, Geneva (Pa.) College, University of Michigan-Dearborn, Concordia (Mich.) University, Kenyon College, Notre Dame College, Rochester (Mich.) College, and Seton Hill (Pa.) University.