Steadily-improving Trojans continue program's growth
By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on November 13, 2009 1:46 PM
Each season the Mount Olive College women's basketball team gets a little bit better. The program's growth is a direct reflection of head coach Wendy Lee's winning mentality.
On the heels of the program's most-successful season since joining the NCAA Division II ranks, the expectations for the 2009 squad are very high.
The Trojans were picked to finish second in the Conference Carolinas preseason coaches poll. Lee's team received two first-place votes.
"I am very excited and I have a very optimistic outlook about this year's team," Lee said before a recent practice. "At the same time, I am a little anxious because we have to replace two of our starters from last season and find a new mix of personnel."
Tomeka Prichard and Brittney Robich, two of the Trojans most consistent performers from last season, have graduated and thus left the coaching staff to fill their big shoes with new bodies.
Mount Olive returns three starters from the 2008 team -- Shequanta McGee, Brittney Miller and Jasmine Whitby. A talented and accurate forward, Whitby averaged 15.1 points per game last season and is the leading scorer among the players that will suit up in 2009. McGee averaged just over seven points per game as a sophomore, but led the Trojans with 112 assists from her point guard position.
LaPorsha Davis will provide depth at both of the guard positions.
Helen Moore, one of the Trojans' best post players last season, is also back after fully recovering from an injury. Moore is expected to start Sunday afternoon when Mount Olive opens regular-season play against Elizabeth City State at Kornegay Arena. Tip-off is 4 p.m.
"Helen was a starter when she was healthy last season and having her back healthy is a big boost for this year's team," said Lee. "I think that our lost post presence is improved this year and I feel like this team has an arsenal of weapons at its disposal."
The Trojans welcome seven newcomers including Alyssa Luebs from Havelock High School and Shaniqua Clay from Wilson Beddingfield. With 18 players on the roster, the Trojans will have plenty of options as they try to make a run at a conference title.
Coming off a 23-7 record in 2008, the Mount Olive players and coaches are not resting on their past accomplishments.
"I think our players are hungry and focused," said Lee. "I don't think that anyone is complacent or anything like that. I think our players are ready to get started."
After taking on the Vikings, the Trojans start a six- game road swing that includes conference games at St. Andrews and Limestone. Mount Olive's first Conference Carolinas game at Kornegay Arena is Jan. 4, 2010, against Belmont Abbey.
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