While UTSA is trying to win its third consecutive South Land ConferenceTournament title and go dancing again, the Lady Runners have some big shoes to fill. Besides losing SLC Player of the Year, Monica Gibbs, the Lady Runners will also have to replace 3 additional starters and 50 plus points a game from last years team. A progress report follows:
Judy Jones- Judy will be the best freshman in the SLC. Jones looks more the part of the track star that she was in high school with her lean and delicate frame. Add that to the scholarly looking glasses that she sometimes plays in and you may find yourself wondering if the kid can play. But, do not judge this book by its cover. The kid can GO! She has mannish athletic ability. While the classic step-though move is used predominately by women, Jones completes the up-and-under like guys. She leaves her feat and figures the rest out in the air. Her elevation from 15 feet is unfair. Her handle is strong enough to allow her to slash and her jumper must be respected. She will make the most impact on the boards and by causing havoc in passing lanes. Game Stat Prediction: 14 points, 8 boards, 2.5 steals and 1 block. She will vertically jump up and hang on the rim a few times for intimidation purposes this year too!
Amber Gregg- Gregg is the lone returning starter from last years team. Gregg averaged close to 12 points a game last year and finished the season with a huge performance against Sweet 16 bound ranked Baylor. Gregg reportedly had some off season knee surgery but looks to be back on track. Gregg uses her keen basketball IQ and tenacity to make up for her small stature. The junior guard is one of the best shooters in the conference and is primed to have a great year. The loss of the other shooting specialist from last year, Jordan Starks, will ensure that Greggs will have ample opportunities to bust opposing zones. Greggs handle is strong enough to warrant respect and guarding her too close is a tall task. Game Stat Prediction: 14 points, 3 assists, 1.5 steals, 100 made 3's
Whitney York- York started every game as a freshman and averaged close to 10 points a game. She spent all but 8 games out last year with a knee injury but she is back in a big way. NO ONE is the SLC can stay in front of York. Her lefty crossover is a thing of beauty as she lives in the paint. She finishes with soft floaters or finds open teammates with ease. York will be a nightmare to guard in the Lady Runners Dribble Drive Offense and numerous Pick and Roll sets. If her small frame holds up, she will score a bunch of points from the free throw line. York is a great on ball defender as well. Game Stat Prediction: 15 points, 5 assists, 2 steals
UTSA will have to rely heavily on these three players if they are going to dance again. Returning York and adding Jones effectively replaced the great contributions of Gibbs. But, the rebounding production and inside physical presence of Onika Anderson will be greatly missed. The current roster is not imposing on the inside. Early injuries to Cori Cooper leaves a void on the block. Kelsey Ansley, Valencia Cottom and Shantel Nwanguma will probably hold down the block by committee. Wacthing the progress of 6'5 freshman Corrie Focier, will be enjoyable. The legit Big has a long way to go but will undoubtedbly get there.
Others to watch: Jermani Malone(fr), Whitney Wright(fr) and Asleigh Franklin(fr)