Lewis-Clark State College Women's Basketball
2001-02 Season Outlook
This is a new era in Lewis-Clark State College womenís basketball. For the first time since the 1987-88 season, there will be a new womenís basketball coach. Brian Orr takes the reigns of a team that went to the NAIA Final Four last year and will mix five returnees with eight newcomers to defend their Frontier Conference regular season and tournament championships.
Gone from last yearís team are post players Sara McEachern, Kally Lytle and Brooke Cushman. Also gone are Brianne Jolley, Alyssa Erickson, Julia Vojtech, and Cassie Chapman. Jolley and Erickson followed Mike Divilbiss up to the University of Idaho.
However, returning are guards Brianne Kottwitz, Shannon Russel, Jessica Foot, and Vanessa Shelton. Katarina Gabaniova, an Academic All-Conference honoree, is back to take over as a post player. Both Kottwitz, a two-time NAIA All-America, and Russel, the nationís leading 3-point shooter last year, have a lot of game experience, both regular season and post season. "Brianne and Shannon know what it takes to win," said Orr. "Brianne is a leader on the floor and Shannonís 3-point shooting does a lot for us." They have played on three consecutive NAIA tournament teams and look forward to returning to Jackson, Tennessee for the fourth-straight year. Foot and Shelton saw ample playing time in relief of Kottwitz and Russel. Foot gives the Warriors someone else who can shoot the ball, dribble, and pass effectively. Shelton has already demonstrated a higher level of confidence in her ability in the preseason. Gabaniova, a 6-3 post player, has the height to intimidate anyone who dares enter the paint and is arguably one of the top post players in the league. "She is playing with a great deal of confidence," said Orr. "Iíve given her some freedom and she has flourished in that environment."
Newcomers will be counted on to fill in some of the holes that are left due to graduation or transfer. Guard Shanta Coleman is coming off of a storied career at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. She can score points and can also dish out a ton of assists. Her versatility will be an asset for the Warriors and gives Orr the ability to move Kottwitz to the two-guard spot. Joining her in the backcourt is University of Great Falls transfer Alicia Hazlett. She can shot the ball, and accurately, finishing with a 45.5% from the field, last year, to lead the Lady Argos. Joselyn Mays will redshirt this season.
In the post is where the newcomers will be counted on the most. After losing four players who saw significant minutes last year gone, that means a lot of players will be learning on the job. Kyla Harris, a junior college transfer, is a solid forward and has great leadership skills. "Kyla has the ability to make all the players around her better," said Orr. Brandi Kicking Woman, another JUCO transfer, has the ability to score points inside or outside. Kendra West and Leah McCauley will add depth inside. Amy Flaig, a player on the Warriors nationally-ranked volleyball team, will join the team after the volleyball season winds up. A tremendous player in high school, it will take her a little time to get back in to the flow of basketball, but she will contribute inside. "Amy is hard to guard on offense and she is an impressive defensive player with her quickness and athleticism," said Orr.
The schedule this year will be tough for the young Warriors. The Banner Bank/Howard Johnson Tournament opens the season for Lewis-Clark State as Concordia (OR) University and Biola University will be the first two opponents. "Our opening games are going to be a challenge," said Orr. "Both teams return their top players and are coming off of winning seasons." The Warriors venture to Cheney to face NCAA Division I, Eastern Washington, November 20th, is L-Cís first since the 1993-94 season. "We are looking forward to the challenge of playing a Division I program like Eastern Washington," said Orr. "This will serve as a measuring stick for where the team is and where it needs to go." LCSC will then travel to Fresno, California to play in the Sunbird Thanksgiving Classic. A trip to Caldwell to take on NAIA Division IIís national runners-up, Albertson, will precede a return to Jackson for the Union University Rotary Classic against two of the best teams in the country, Union and Lambuth. Simon Fraser returns to Lewiston with a new coach on December 15th. The Frontier conference opener is January 3rd at the University of Great Falls. "We know Montana-Western is going to be tough," said Orr. "Carroll College returns some good players and MSU-Northern is another solid team."
State College, 500 8th Avenue, Lewiston, ID 83501 (208) 792-2289