We are looking so good here. I am excited with this group of tall, good sized, athletic ladies/basketball players. We have one, who may be a project, that is a true looking center, 6-5'er. The rest of our centers are athletic power forwards who can mix it up.
Our forwards, both the big forwards and small forwards can switch around and play in a combination that provides excellent depth and great flexibility in the face of match up decisions.
As a group, again like the guards, they are young. Again we are looking at the future of Lady Raider basketball.
Forward / 3 Spot
Marissa Ashton: 6-0, Sophmore, 1L: Played in 30 games as a freshman, about 37 minutes per game. 40% from the field, a laughable 36% from the line. She managed about 4 points per game, a couple of rebounds, and occasional steal, block, or assist. She did not have a good team her senior year and was Miss all everything, I saw her play, she was asked to do way too much, but one could see why...she was the best they had by leaps. Ashton has responded very well to the coaching she has gotten in college. I will start her at the 3 without blinking. She knows where she needs to improve...like a lot of kids from similar HS programs, she was not asked to be anything other that a great playmaker...in college free throws become important. I like this lady and I want to see her success.
Kelsi Baker: 6-0, Frosh, HS: Kelsi was ranked 12th nationally as a power forward. I am putting her behind Ashton because they are so similar physically, and I have taller choices at PF. From Mesquite in the Metroplex…anyone who follows girls bb in that area knows who she is. Kelsi is a player who will get after the you on the court and make you wonder what happened. She can score, assist, rebound, and play defense. Athletic and smart...with aspirations to coach.
Power Forward / 4 Spot
Jordan Barcastle: 6-2, JR, 2L: O.K., if you are the weakest Lady Raider fan ever, you know who this lady is. She is Miss Grit, the tough-minded, hard-nosed, athletic forward who hit two fouls shots with her nose full of toilet paper after getting punched last season in during a solid game vs the biggest the of the Big12 biggies. Warrior !! This girl will play basketball, her dad was her HS coach who not only developed a good basketball player but a tough minded competitor and natural leader...yes, I am enamored of her game. She represents what I want from this team/program. Played Div1 basketball as a freshman--note the trend for our hs players--with 31 games with 6 starts, played in 32 games with 12 starts as a Sophmore. 975 minutes of college basketball, she is mature as a player who will improve every game. 47% from the field, 79% from the line, basketball player numbers ! She gets an occasional steal, block, and assist. Improving her 2 to 3 rebounds per game will make a big difference in the team's goals.
Ebony Walker: 6-2, Frosh, HS: Here is a HS girl we have been seeking. Ranked 25th power forward nationally. A New Mexico girl who has game, I am putting her behind Barncastle because that is a good spot for her to quickly integrate into the team and get good learning/developing minutes...she has a great future...and I am giddy with wanting to see her game.
Kierra Mallard: 6-3, JR, 3L: Kierra is our most experienced Lady Raider, she has played from the git go as a freshman starting 23. With over 1500 minutes as a Lady Raider, she knows what is going on. Playing center, she is really a good power forward with grit. 43% from the field, 70% from the line, 7 or 8 rebounds, she will also get you a block, a steal, and an assist. She has the best cast of teammates in her college career and I am looking to see her respond positively with this group of players. She is my starting center, no questions asked...although she may see some real competition for the spot.
Tina Wickett: 6-3, SR, 1L: Wickett is a transfer with two letters at Pepperdine and about 1000 minutes pt. Averaged about 9 points per game, 57% from the field, 74% from the line, 7+ rebounds, a couple of assists, a steal or two is her game…she has basketball player written all over her. I haven't seen her play, she could take the starting spot quickly. If she does, it will be a good thing. We have her for one season only, I think.
Shautel Nobles: 6-3, RSFrosh, HS: LOL! Nobles is one of those tall, slender, beautiful ladies that will surprise you when you see her on the court. She will score, she will rebound, she will get blocks, she will shoot free throws, and she will leave her high school with all-time leader in all 4 categories. We missed seeing her last season, injured a knee. She is back. Hopefully her game comes back with a vengence...I have a good feeling.
Haley Schneider: 6-5, Frosh, HS: Haley is interesting, she has the wonderful height and her mom is a good HS coach and was a legacy basketball player at Tennessee. She knows the game, she can score and block shots. She looks very lady like…I would be tempted to red shirt, but I cannot say much more about her, I haven't seen her game. She played AAU ball with Antiesha Brown and Ebony Walker, that is a plus. I am looking forward to seeing who she is on the court...I am holding back my expectations, we all drool over a tall, tall basketball player.
There they are. In some form of organized by position thought, presented in two parts.
Part of the depth was done by height and size, then where they played last season, and part from the way they are listed on the official roster.
In all truth, I know of only a couple of positions that are set, Smalls at point is a no brainer, Morris is an ideal back up or an oppressive 2...but if Smalls is on the court, Smalls is going be point, she is that good there. I cannot see Schneider at any position other than center and will happy to see her playing 4 hitting a sweet jumper if I am not giving her enough credit, I am a bit concerned about her quickness and motor. Again, I think that almost everyone else can and will play multiple roles depending on the game conditions, health, and match ups. Mutiple roles meaning if designated as a 3, can also play 2 or 4...from what little I know, I think they are that versitile.
Lady Raiders are not picked to finish well. The credit is to the other programs who have demonstrated their games on the court while this program is building, rebuilding, or just trying to get going. With this group of girls, I believe the corner is turned. We have a good chance to see it this year, if not next year...if not I am simply dead wrong and very disappointed.
I like that this group has started the season already with a 4 game tour of Canada this summer. Eight days on the road, visiting, sight seeing, participating in adventures, a little bit of practice, a game here and there, all adds up to a great period of bonding with team mates and coaches. Team stuff.
The first game is on the road over in dreaded New Mexico, in the newly referbished Pit, traditionally a Hell Hole for Lady Raider teams. Keep in mind the prior coach declared that she would never return her team to that location after some unhappy experience...and did not. The Lady Lobos haven't a reason to be hopeful for their season this year due to some recent losses of good players. LOL, a first game is a first game, who knows what to expect...I am not taking it lightly, I do wish I could be arrogant about it and declare otherwise.
I hope everyone enjoys the over view and all you Lady Raider fans enjoy this team and watching their growth as individuals developing over their time at TTU and as a team and program that gets it winning ways restored.
This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Viva The Matadors' writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Viva The Matadors' writers or editors.