The Lady Bulldogs have used four different starting lineups in their last five games. They haven't started the same five players in back-to-back games since Jan. 16 and Jan. 23, and Coach Andy Landers is expected to extend that streak by inserting senior Katie Frye back into the starting lineup tonight.
"I would have thought we would settle into something more permanent, more predictable than we have," Landers said. "I'm kind of disappointed that we're not there yet, but I think we've got plenty of time to get to that point."
The reason for all the lineup changes has been defense more than offense, Landers said.
"We continue to have lapses on defense that are just unacceptable," he said. "We painstakingly scout and prepare too much to consistently make mistakes on the defensive end."
It's not only the starting lineup that is in flux. Players' minutes during games also have varied. Guard Cori Chambers is the only Lady Bulldog other than star freshman Tasha Humphrey to lead the team in scoring more than once this year, but she played just 16 minutes against Kentucky on Sunday and only four of those came in the second half.
Sophomore guard Janese Hardrick closed last year strong and came into this season expecting a breakout year, but she was slowed by offseason knee surgery and a sprained ankle in the preseason and she still hasn't been able to claw her way into a regular spot. She is the team's fourth-leading scorer but has yet to start a game. She played just nine minutes against Kentucky.
"I'd probably say mid-January I should have been (in the starting lineup)," she said. "I should be there by now."
Last season, the Lady Bulldogs found themselves more quickly, said Hardrick.
"I don't think everyone has learned their role yet as far as what the team needs them to do, but I think we're getting there," she said. "We're very close."