|
|
|
Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • Briggs leads fresh-faced Crowder hoops squad

  • Last season was one the most successful campaigns for the Crowder women’s basketball program in recent memory. Not only did those Lady ‘Riders go 29-6 and win the Region 16 championship, but they also finished in the Sweet 16 at the NJCAA Division I National Tournament in Salina, Kan.
    • email print
  • Last season was one the most successful campaigns for the Crowder women’s basketball program in recent memory. Not only did those Lady ‘Riders go 29-6 and win the Region 16 championship, but they also finished in the Sweet 16 at the NJCAA Division I National Tournament in Salina, Kan.
    While that team is one that will be forever remembered at Crowder, most of what’s left of them is all but a memory now as the only holdover returning in 2013 is sophomore guard Dorian Briggs (5’8, Fort Smith, Ark.). There’s no doubt Briggs will be counted on to lead the team this season when they open their home schedule against Labette Community College at 6 p.m. tonight at Bob Sneller Gymnasium. She’s the only sophomore amongst a group of eight freshmen on the current roster.
    The turnover, and being such a young team, could hamper the Lady ‘Riders early in the season. Some of that has already shown in a pair of losses against Seminole (72-54) and Connors State (81-71). Crowder coach Tina Robbins knows there will be early struggles, but hopes to eventually help develop another All-American like Terai Sadler in 2012.
    “We know with such a young squad that early on things aren’t going to be perfect,” Robbins said. “We know that with this group we’re going to have to be patient with them, but eventually they’re going to get it. The bright spot is that we’ve played hard. We’re going to have to make adjustments.”
    Robbins said the return of Briggs has been a positive for the team so far.
    “She’s done a great job,” Robbins said. “It’s hard when you’re the only one (returning), but she’s done a great job of being a leader and trying to get them all on the same page. I think she’ll continue to play that way throughout the season.”
    The new class has a solid mix of size and athleticism, according to Robbins. Freshman Courtney Jones (5’5, Tahlequah, Okla.) was described by Robbins as a shooter that has high basketball IQ: “She understands the game. She can play any guard spot,” the coach said.
    Tiffany Rhame (5’4, Farmington, Ark.) and Tae’lor Monroe (5’6, Las Vegas, Nev.) are both point guards that are athletic and heady. Lori Kleier (5’4, Hurley, Mo.) is another guard that Robbins says not only plays hard, but also has the ability to knock down open shots and is good in transition.
    The Lady ‘Riders added some local flavor in the form of Katie Hughes, a 6’1 freshman from Purdy, Mo. Hughes has been hampered by injuries throughout the preseason, but Robbins is high on her as a player that can “spot up and knock down a 15-footer,” and a player that can both play with her back to the basket or face up and score. Thays Barbosa (6’1, Goiana, Brazil) has the same sort of skill set as Hughes, while also factoring in as a good rebounder with the potential to get even better.
    Page 2 of 2 - Ariana Gallegos (6’1, Kyle, Texas) is a player Robbins says has improved a great deal over the preseason. “She’s a good back to the basket player and can step out and knock down a 15-footer.”
    Mariana Silva (6’2, Sao Paulo, Brazil) is the tallest player on the team — rounding out a group of four 6-footers. Silva has been slowed by injuries throughout the preseason. “Once we can get her into game shape and can get her more physical, she’s a kid that can be dominant for us in the paint.”
    With only nine players on the 2013-14 roster, health will be a key issue.
    “Obviously one of the big keys for us is staying healthy with such a small roster,” Robbins said. “But we had the same situation last year. Hopefully we’ll have all nine every time out, but if not we’ll have to learn to adjust.”
    Also joining Crowder’s bench is new assistant Laura Horzempa, who, as Robbins described is “from all over the place.” A native of the Dallas, Texas, area, Horzempa has had previous stops at Belmont University in Tennessee, and most recently spent three years in New York.

        calendar