Only wing player Julie Zimmerman, point guard Brooke Hamby and versatile Mary Jackson will be missing from last year’s roster. Hamby started all 37 games last season and dished off 137 assists. Zimmerman was usually the first player off the bench and averaged 7.6 points per game. Jackson started two games and averaged 3.0 points and 4.6 rebounds per outing.
PLENTY TO BUILD AROUND
The 2013-14 squad has plenty to build around. Senior Hollie German’s numbers and accomplishments were off the chart during the record-setting 2012-13 season. The talented guard averaged 19.5 points per game. The NAIA all-American was the SSAC Player of the Year, and the CoSIDA NAIA Scholar-Athlete of the Year in leading the Lady Flames to a 34-3 season and a runner-up spot in the NAIA National Tournament.
Junior Jenna Adams came on strong in the second half of last season. At 6 feet tall, she is versatile enough to score inside and step outside to drill the 3-pointer. Adams averaged 15 points and 9.5 rebounds. She was honorable mentioned All-American, All-SSAC and the MVP of the conference tournament.
Coach Rowe likes to call seniors Karley Miller, Myriah Iles and Rachel Lockhart his blue-collar workers. Miller started 17 games and averaged eight points and five rebounds. She earned a spot on the SSAC All-Tournament team and was All-SSAC East Division. Iles started 21 games and averaged seven points and 4.3 rebounds. Lockhart worked through injuries to start 34 games. She averaged only 3.1 points, but was Lee’s best defender (50 steals). She dished off 76 assists.
Madison Lee is back after missing the entire 2012-13 season while recovering from knee surgery. The talented guard helped the Lady Flames win 30 games in 2011-12. She averaged five points, three rebounds and had 39 assists before her injury.
Rowe has added Alex Swope, a transfer from Volunteer State Community, to the mix. “Alex is a two-year starter from Volunteer State,” he explained. “With the loss of Bambi (Hamby) we felt like a tough, pass-first point guard would be a good addition to our current guard group. We feel like Alex has already taken some of the pressure (ball-handling) duties away from Hollie (German) and allowed us to continue to run sets for Hollie from multiple positions.”
TEAM’S STRONG POINTS
“I think definitely it is leadership by our seniors and Madison (Lee). This is a special group of people and players who deserve the opportunity to be a part of Lee history again this season. Also, we feel good about our depth this year at all positions.”
“From what I’ve been told, it’s a really solid, well-balanced league from top to bottom,” said Rowe. “Every team is well coached and well prepared so this season will be a grind both mentally and physically.
“As a competitor it’s what you want from a league. Night in, night out we’re going to be in tough battles and it is going to be a lot of fun. As far as top teams, Delta State and Union finished tied at the top last season, so I expect them to be right there again this year. Honestly there is so much parity in this conference, it is hard to separate the next several teams, and they are all quality programs.”
OVERALL TOUGH SCHEDULE
“Yes, it’s a tough schedule, but in talking to Mark Campbell (Union University coach) about what he did last year ... we wanted to see where we stack up against good programs in this area. That’s why we reached out to schedule Bellarmine (Ky.), Carson-Newman, and North Georgia. We feel like this approach will give us a great gauge on recruiting in the future.”
TEAM GOALS THE SAME
“I don’t think our goals change one bit from the past years other than the organization (GSC, NCCAA) logos,” commented Rowe. “We’re going to try and put ourselves in position to compete in every game we play, and be the best team we can possibly be in February and March. If we’re playing a GSC game or an NCCAA event, we’re going to enjoy our journey this season and be the best team we can be at the end of the year.”
EXCITING TIME FOR UNIVERSITY
“This is an exciting time for the entire university and I couldn’t pick a better group of young women to go into this season with,” said Rowe in closing.