Clarksville, Ark.-The University of the Ozarks landed well-known Arkansas High School Girl's Basketball Coach Carl Ramsey over the summer after a successful 29 seasons at Lamar High School.
Ramsey enters the collegiate ranks with a tall task in front of him as he needs to replace the top two scorers and top rebounder. His alma mater hasn’t had a winning season in eight years and only two years ago, the team posted a 1-24 record. However, the 2008-2009 Lady Eagles did make strides, winning five games and losing four others by single digits. And, he inherits several players that played significant minutes last season, including five promising sophomores. In all, three starters return, and over sixty percent of the team’s three-point shooters are back. Ramsey also has twin towers Sabrina Goddard and Alexa Booth, both of whom are 6-foot-1 post players, to give Ozarks a formidable front line. Goddard, a sophomore, averaged 8.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per game a year ago. She had three games with 20 points and posted one double-double. Booth played at Murray State College last season, helping the team to the first round of the playoffs.
“You can’t coach size,” said Ramsey, who never had a losing season at Lamar High School. “Hopefully, it will provide match-up problems against our opponents. We are counting on them to provide defense and rebounding. They both have a good frame and are strong to go along with solid moves around the basket. But they still need to understand that it is not really how big you are, but rather how big you play. I want them to be more physical and take up more room and seal better. I want them to use their strong bodies to their advantage. They can be special inside.”
Ozarks, which finished 5-20 overall and 3-17 in the American Southwest Conference, has a number of returners that can provide firepower from the outside, and with a pair of capable inside players, those perimeter players should get open looks.
Junior Ally Goddard, senior Kristyn Shinn and sophomores April Young, Alison Villines and Ashley Teague hit a combined 88 three-pointers last season.
“We shoot the ball pretty well,” said Ramsey. “We have to work on our execution and get ourselves free. We are not the quickest, most athletic team so creating things on our own is a little bit harder. But when they do get a look, they have shot well. I think the ability to shoot the ball is one of our strengths.”
Goddard led the team in assists (2.3) and was the only player on the team to start in all 25 games last season. Shinn has valuable playing experience and quickness on the perimeter. Young averaged 5.8 points per game and hit 83 percent from the free throw line. Villines started in 24 games and averaged 6.0 points per game while Teague finished second on the team in three-point field goals (28).
“Ally hit 17 three-pointers in two minutes at our Hoops Madness,” said Ramsey. “When she gets herself set and if we can get her open, she is a solid shooter. I have been real impressed with April. She is strong and does a good job of getting the ball to the basket. She can finish inside and that makes her even harder to guard. Kristyn is quick and a good ball handler. Ashley hit 28 three-pointers last season. Alison is a proven player having started in 24 games as a freshman.”
Each newcomer will have a role to play in Ramsey’s system, too. 5-foot-2 freshman point guard Chelsea Glasscock excels in the open floor with her quickness. Freshmen guards Jordan Patton and Ariel Henderson are additional outside specialists.
“I am real pleased with Chelsea,” said Ramsey. “She has done a great job for us. She is full of energy and can handle the ball. She will have to be quick and smart because she may not be able to throw over the top of people. Jordan is more of a set type shooter and Ariel can hit the three, too.”
Another key newcomer is forward Lindsey Louks. Louks, 5-foot-9, was an All-State player at Pangburn High School, and will provide assistance in the post area. Veteran Savannah Carter will see time at the post position in addition to a perimeter spot.
“Lindsey will have to help us in the post,” said Ramsey. “She has always played post and feels more comfortable there. We may even use Savannah inside. She is shorter, but is the strongest kid in the weight room. And, she is not afraid to mix it up.”
Ramsey is known in the Arkansas ranks as a defensive mind, emphasizing a tough full-court press. One concern as Ramsey tries to implement a press is the team’s lack of depth.
“We want our opponents to use a lot of time to get the ball down the floor,” said Ramsey. “We want to put some pressure on the basketball, but we will try to slow the game down with a softer type press. Obviously, a weakness is our depth. We will have to play a lot of minutes and find a way to play the game where we can dictate the tempo.”
Defensively, the Lady Eagles must improve its post defense and guarding opponents off the dribble, according to Ramsey.
“The two things that really hurt last year were post defense and penetration off the dribble,” said Ramsey. “It all started with someone giving up containment. Those are two things we have tried to address. We will try to do some things to slow down the penetration of guards. We want to double down on the post, too. That is a big key for us defensively. We have to play together and we have to play hard all of the time, not just in spurts.”
Ramsey prefers a balanced offensive attack from his teams. In addition to solid defensive play and balanced scoring, success this season hinges on the team’s effort, the veteran coach believes.
“It will have to be a team effort,” said Ramsey. “I think everyone will have to step in there and give us minutes. It will have to be a balanced attack. I am not sure if we have a star on the team and scoring could come from a variety of players. But as long as everyone is contributing I don’t care where the scoring comes from. We would like to get the type of team where each player is hard to guard. Offensively, it is all about execution. You can’t all of the sudden make yourself more athletic and bigger. But I think you can play a little smarter.”
Ramsey has been pleased with the team’s attitude in his short time as a college head coach.
“Their attitude has been good,” said Ramsey. “They are still in the process of adjusting. I am asking them to do some things they haven’t done before. The game is still the same and fundamentals are the same, and you still win with that.”
The Lady Eagles open the season in the Ecclesia College Classic November 20-21.