Women's basketball eyeing return trip to nationals
Siloam Springs, Ark. (October 26, 2011) - by Sidney Van Wyk
After a trip to the NAIA National Tournament last year, the JBU women’s basketball team is gearing up for a return trip to the national tournament this season.
The women finished last year at 20-12 overall and 14-8 after falling in the first round of the national tournament to No. 1 seeded Campbellsville (Ky.). Tied for fifth in the Sooner Athletic Conference preseason poll, the JBU women know that they have to fight to stay in contention for post season play in the SAC.
“One thing in our conference is if you end in the top five you have a chance of going to the national tournament,” said head women’s basketball coach Jeff Soderquist. “But our conference is really deep, so you have to compete night in and night out.”
Soderquist said the team is going to be relying on their returning starters, 6-2 senior post Chelsea Garrison of Springdale, Ark. and 5-9 junior guard Anna Parish of Yantis, Texas to lead the team this season.
Garrison averaged 11.25 points a game last season and was named an All-SAC honorable mention. Parish averaged 8.4 points a game and was named Second-Team All-SAC, NAIA Honorable Mention All-American, and was chosen by the coaches as JBU’s Female Athlete of the Year.
Sophomore post Kami Garrison, sophomore guard Sierra Shipley, and sophomore Kortni Barenberg are also players who put in significant minutes last year that Soderquist expects to contribute this season.
Redshirt sophomore Jessica Berlin of Siloam Springs, Ark. will also be returning to the court. Berlin was JBU’s second leading scorer her freshman year but was redshirted last year due to an injury.
Freshmen Morgan Ankrom and Lauren Rogers will also likely receive playing time right away. In addition to Ankrom and Rogers, freshman Lindsey McHenry and freshman Laura Brown will vie for time as well.
The ladies will open the year with several road games beginning with Mid-America Nazarene (Kan.) on November 1. Then they’ll head to Branson, Mo. to compete in the two-day College of the Ozarks Classic on Friday-Saturday, Nov. 11-12. On Friday, the women take on South Dakota School of the Mines, and on Saturday, they’ll face Black Hills State (S.D.).
The women will have their home opener on Friday, Nov. 18 against Ecclesia (Ark.) at 8 p.m. in the JBU Classic. On Saturday, Nov. 19 the ladies will tipoff against Southwest Assemblies of God (Texas), which will be their final tune-up before conference play kicks in on Nov. 22 at home versus Rogers State (Okla.).
For the complete schedule, click here.