Clarksville, Ark.-U of O Head Women?s Basketball Coach Carl Ramsey has always had impressive outside shooting teams, but now the veteran coach has added imposing size to compliment the backcourt.
It may be Ramsey’s tallest team since his arrival five years ago, and he plans to take full advantage of it. Four players – Taylor Farmer, Kindra Davis, RaShelle Goldman and Bryanna Moltz – are all taller than 6-feet. And, both Goldman and Moltz add another dynamic to the team as each can shoot from long-range.
“We have more size than we have had in the past,” said Ramsey. “We have some taller players that can shoot the three-pointer as well as our guards. They are not the typical players that post-up inside. I think this creates some match-up problems against our opponents. It gives us a chance to be more flexible on offense.”
Ozarks returns three starters and a number of others who saw significant action a year ago. Farmer, a junior, is the team’s top returning scorer (12.6). Farmer also averaged 5.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. Davis, a senior, started in all 25 games last season and was the team-leader in rebounds per game (8.0). Davis was especially dominant on the defensive end, pulling down 147 total defensive rebounds. Tamara Wilkett, a senior guard, started 24 games and scored 7.8 points per game. Wilkett is among the team’s top three-point shooting threats as she hit 24-of-73 (32.9%) from beyond the arc.
Under Ramsey, Ozarks has always been among the top shooting teams in the American Southwest Conference. Last season, the Lady Eagles led the conference in three-point shooting (32%), and were in the top-5 in field goal percentage and free throw percentage. This year should be no different.
“We try to take good shots,” said Ramsey. “We want to be disciplined enough to get shots for people who can shoot in certain spots. Good shooters can take bad shots so it is important that they take shots in the right spots.”
The guard rotation will be by committee early in the season, according to Ramsey. Ramsey does have a number of players to use, including sophomores Jordana Andrews, Libby Nepivoda and Ashley Hipps. Additionally, juniors Annabel Fidler and Jessica Milloway as well as freshman Anisha Johnson will play on the perimeter. Forward Shawnee Sorensen is back for her junior season and is another player expected to push for playing time.
“I think it will be guard by committee to begin the season,” said Ramsey. “Ashley and Anisha can play the point. Jordana can play the two guard or point. Jessica is working hard and getting better every day. Bryanna is as good a three-point shooter as we have. It may be more important who finishes the game rather than who starts it.”
Ramsey does feel that the guard positions are somewhat inexperienced.
“We don’t have a lot of experience at the guard spot,” he said. “We have several players that we are going to give a chance.”
The team is full of role players and Ramsey believes it is imperative that someone steps forward during the season.
“We want people to understand what their roles are,” he said. “I think what we have on this team are a lot of role players. I’ve got to wait and see who will step forward and become the go to player. It is important from a leadership standpoint, too. I feel like we have some quality players and quality depth. There is a lot of room for growth with this team.”
Ozarks did not make the playoffs last season after finishing 11-14 overall and 7-12 in the ASC. Due to changes within the ASC, there will no longer be an East and West Division for the 2013-2014 season. Instead, the divisions have been combined and all 12 teams will play each other at home and on the road, with the top eight teams qualifying for the playoffs. Mississippi College is on the schedule, but is not eligible for post-season play due to its reclassification to NCAA Division II.
“It is special when you make the playoffs,” said Ramsey. “We have to work hard every day to complete our goal of qualifying for the playoffs. I think with the new format every game is important. I think it will be even more competitive. Every night we must play like it is a tournament game.”