Head coach Joe McKeown and his scouts are heading cross country to scout talent this weekend, but their thoughts are for the 2003-04 season, not the coming year. McKeown said with such a young team already, five rising sophomores and six rising juniors, he is concentrating on developing the young talent he already has rather than adding new recruits.
“I felt with such a young team and only one senior graduating that we
did not need to actively recruit right now,” McKeown said.
While adding some freshmen to the line up is doubtful, McKeown did not rule out the possibility entirely.
“We’re still actively working, but at this point we’d say no,” he said.
Last year’s squad finished 21-9, losing to the Hokies in the second round of the WNIT tournament, a tournament McKeown said he entered to give his freshmen valuable post-season experience.
The only loss the team will suffer is graduate Elena Vishniakova, who was out for the last half of the 2002 season after an ACL injury. While her absence was hard on the team, the current squad benefited by learning to play without the forward.
The Colonials retain three rising sophomores who saw considerable action towards the end of last season, particularly after Vishniakova’s injury; Liz Dancause, Greeba Outen Barlow and Anna Montanana. Rising sophomore Kelly Wright returns with a year of college experience under her belt, and two red shirts, rising sophomore Tylon Harris (ACL injury) and rising junior Michaela Leary (transfer from University of Michigan) will add depth to next year’s roster.
Most importantly for the immediate future, the team will be led by the experienced senior trio of Lindsey Davidson, Erica Lawrence and Cathy Joens. The three averaged about 30 minutes per game last season. Lawrence, who averaged more than nine points per game, scored her 1,000th point last season, while Davidson was named the Atlantic 10’s Sixth Player of the Year. Joens, who won numerous team and conference honors, averaged more than 15 points per game.
Center Ugo Oha will be a junior and continue to dominate the A-10 conference. Along with Joens she was named to the A-10’s First Team All Conference and Defensive Player of the Year.
With all this experience on the bench, McKeown is not concentrating on booking immediate talent, but securing players to take over for Davidson, Lawrence, Joens and Oha in two or three years.
“We will lose a lot of scoring punch in Lindsey and Erica, so we’d like to find a freshman point guard and two post players, because we’re also going to need size,” McKeown said.
With that in mind, he and his scouts will be scouring the AAU tournaments in the 104-degree heat of Portland, Dallas and Las Vegas this weekend, hoping to find the next Ugos and Ericas.
“That’s our wish list,” McKeown said. “But as Mick Jagger always said, ‘you can’t always get what you want.'”