- The 2003-04 Frostburg State University women’s basketball team will look towards its youth to be successful this season, because it only returns one starter from last years 12-15 squad that advanced to the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference semi-finals.
That lone starter is junior forward Tracey Little (Allegany/LaVale, Md.), last year’s AMCC Player of the Year and this season’s AMCC Pre-Season Player of the Year. Little led the conference in both scoring (16.9 ppg) and rebounding (10.0 rpg) and scored over 20 points eight times last season. She was also named to the D3hoops.com All-Atlantic second team and ECAC Southern All-Star honorable mention squad following her outstanding year.
“Tracey is going to get her points and rebounds this season and that is a nice thing to not worry about,” said third-year Head Coach Jody Pepple.
Frostburg State is picked to finish third in the AMCC, which is just fine with Pepple. “I like the fact that we are underdogs in the conference. Everyone knows about Tracey but will be surprised with the rest of the team and how we perform this season.”
The Bobcats have big shoes to fill with the losses of four-year standouts Kim Faust and Holly Myers, who combined for almost 28 points, 11 rebounds and four assists a game last season. Faust leaves as the fourth-leading scorer in school history (1624) and is also fifth on the career rebounding list (888). Myers is FSU’s leading three-point shooter with 184 makes.
“Not having those two, as well as Christina Bleivik, will be tough because not only did we lose those points and rebounds but also their leadership off of the court as well,” said Pepple.
The task of replacing those three will fall into the hands of returning sophomores Kelly True (Southern Fulton/Warfordsburg, Pa.) and Melanie Herget (Old Mill/Glen Burnie, Md.) and freshman Tracie George (Windber/Windber, Pa.). “All of those girls should average around double-digits in scoring, which should open up the floor for everybody,” stated Pepple.
True, the third-leading rebounder (4.9 rpg) and fourth-leading scorer (5.9 ppg) last season, will take over for Faust at the power forward spot and should be a force inside.
“Kelly could get a double-double every game,” said Pepple.
Herget, whose twin sister Joanie is also on the team, is the only returning guard to see much court time last season and will start this year at the shooting guard spot. “It will be tough to replace Holly, but Melanie has an unbelievable work ethic and has improved tremendously over the summer. She is a great shooter who will put up huge numbers from the outside,” said Pepple.
George will be thrust into the spotlight, as she will be the starting point guard when the season opens. “The team has a lot of confidence in Tracie already. She is a great passer, and her court awareness is something that we haven’t had here in a while.”
Filling out the starting line-up at center will be sophomore Ashley Mello (Edgewood/Edgewood, Md.). Mello, who returned late last season from a broken foot, was second on the team with 15 blocks and will be looked upon to be a force in the middle.
“We are really expecting her to have a breakout season,” said Pepple. “Ashley has great touch around the basket”.
Adding depth to the inside will be junior transfers Jamie Cable (Brunswick/Brunswick, Md.) and Charlena Reeves (Southern Garrett/Oakland, Md.) as well as returning sophomore Kenya Broadnax (Howard/Elkridge, Md.).
Cable comes to FSU from Division II power Shippensburg University and will contribute from the small and power forward positions. “Jamie is a very versatile player who gives us many options off of the bench.”
Reeves and Broadnax will also battle for playing time inside.
In the backcourt behind George and Herget will be sophomores Jessica Smith (Allegany/LaVale, Md.) and Joanie Herget (Old Mill/Glen Burnie, Md.) and freshmen Krysten Hargrove (Spring Brook/Silver Spring, Md.), Teara Williams (Dunbar/Baltimore, Md.) and Tarah Lockner (Southern Lehigh/Center Valley, Pa.).
Smith has the most experience of this group as she played in 11 games and averaged seven minutes per contest. “Jess plays solid defense and will back up at point guard.” Herget played in eight games last season and will look to see some time when the Bobcats go with three guards. “We are looking for an up-tempo game this year, and that means that we will use a lot of three-guard sets; this is where Joanie will fit in best,” said Pepple.
Hargrove and Williams should see more playing as the season progresses. “Both are quick and hard workers who just need to adjust to the speed of the college game to feel more comfortable.” Lockner is a good shooter who should see time at the point or shooting guard spot as the season moves on.
Pepple and the coaching staff are looking to an up-tempo running game this season. “We want to run when we can, but we need to do a better job of rebounding so that we can get up the floor quicker.”
Despite so many unknowns at the beginning of the season Pepple sees the uncertainty as an advantage. “Teams are not going to know anything about us except for Tracey, and that will certainly be to our advantage because we will be getting scoring from many different sources this season. I think we could have five or six players in double figures.”
One major area of focus this pre-season has been to take better care of the ball. The Bobcats averaged 20 turnovers a game last year, and that statistic will need to improve if they hope to make a run at the conference title.
“We need to keep our turnovers down so that we can be more successful in the half-court and keep the pressure on the opposing team.”
An increased strength of schedule should let the Bobcats know where they stand early on as they take on Wilmington and Methodist, teams that went to the Sweet 16 last year, in the season-opening Wilmington Tip-Off Tournament. “Our schedule is tougher this year. We want to show the players that no game is easy.”
For further information on this release, contact:
Office of Sports Information
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD 21532-2303