Women rebuilding, vying in new conference

By Marciel Whitehurst


For the Lady Cardinals basketball team, Coach Angela Lawson faces what many call a “rebuilding” year after losing a stellar core of players to graduation.

The old cliché – “addition by subtraction” — rings true for the coaching staff, as the school’s all-time leading scorer, Nia Torru, joins Lawson on the sideline as a graduate assistant coach. Throughout her playing career, Torru has guided the Lady Cardinals to multiple Heartland Conference titles, both regular season and tournament crowns as well as an NCAA playoff berth.

One encouraging sign has been the play of true sophomore Katherine Frost, leading the ship for her second consecutive season. The Churchill High School graduate logged huge minutes due to sophomore guard Kristin Horde’s absence due to injury. Horde, who missed the entire 2009 season with a knee injury, is expected to return in a big way and provide valuable leadership to a relatively young and inexperienced team.

Frost started 18 and appeared in all 29 games, averaging 26 minutes of play, collecting 38 steals and seven blocks in her first campaign. Although she finished the season with a 79 percent assist-to-turnover percentage, Frost showed flashes of excellent ballhandling skills. With a year of playing experience and an off-season to gain a better understanding of Lawson’s expectations, Frost will carry the offense on her shoulders.

Returning in the backcourt with Frost and Horde is Brittany Jackson. Joining her are several transfers in Taylor Murray and Katy Cooke from Tennessee Tech. Those additions give the Cardinals a little more experience at the point guard and wing position.

Another prized signee and potential starter is junior forward Chloe Wallace. The  transfer from Temple Junior College averaged 10 points and was second on the team with  six rebounds per game last season. Wallace must replace a monster in the paint in Hayley Harvey and a prolific rebounder in Jasmine Smith who snagged 171 rebounds in 28 games.

With the Cardinals not scheduled to play their first regular-season matchup until Nov.  24, it gives the ladies an extra month to gel before they step on the court for their first season in the Lone Star Conference.

Hopefully, the experienced transfers can provide excellent play and fill some key holes from two highly skilled and talented squads which dominated the latter years of Heartland Conference play. It will be a very tough challenge for the Lady Cardinals to match the success from previous years, but if they manage to go deep in the Lone Star Conference Tournament, Lawson will be pleased.

With the Cardinals being picked sixth overall and fourth in Lone Star’s Southern Division, they have a chance to sneak under the radar and get a couple of much-needed upsets in their quest for Lone Star Conference hardware.

E-mail Whitehurst at whitehur@student.uiwtx.edu

Marciel Whitehurst

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