Fitting the Pieces Together

With basketball season just around the corner, Head Coach Marsha Sharp is looking to replace a senior, and incorporate a couple of new faces into the Lady Raiders' rotation. How will the lineup shape up? Read on to find out.

With a little under two weeks until the first exhibition game, the 2003-2004 Lady Raiders are already starting to take shape. The backcourt will look familiar to Lady Raider fans. Erin Grant and Jia Perkins will once again combine to make one of the top backcourts in the Big Twelve. Freshman Brooke Baughman will backup both players, but right now her primary duty will be to backup Grant. Chesley Dabbs will backup Perkins, though she could also see time at the three if necessary.

Things aren't quite as clear at the other positions. Natalie Ritchie, Casey Jackson, and newcomer Alesha Robertson will all try to get time at the three. Sophomore Jametra Clark will start at the four. Her primary backup will be Jackson. "We'll try to play Casey at the three and four both, that way we can give her more minutes on the floor," said Coach Sharp. Like last season, the five position will have three players fighting for time. Jolee Ayers-Curry, LaToya Davis, and Cisti Greenwalt will share the position.

This lineup gives the Lady Raiders a great amount of flexibility. At the three you have a very diverse group of players to choose from. Ritchie can shoot the three, Jackson can defend, and Robertson can score inside and outside. You have a similar situation at the five. Davis is probably the best scorer of the bunch, while Ayers-Curry is a solid on the boards and has shown good range on her shot. Greenwalt offers a nice size advantage against many teams.

Lady Raider fans shouldn't be surprised to see the two freshmen getting significant minutes this season. "They'll be a big part of it," said Coach Sharp. Their biggest contribution will probably be in the form of better offensive balance. Both freshmen have good outside shots, which hopefully will create more space for the post players to operate. Another factor that will affect the offense is Grant's ability to shoot the ball. "Erin Grant spent the majority of the summer making that a strength," said Coach Sharp. "I think people will be really impressed by how well she shoots it."

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