Updated Wed, Nov 6, 2013 11:36 am
One glance at the 2013-14 Ohio Women’s Basketball roster and two characteristics come to mind: undersized and young.
Seven players are officially listed as forwards and centers; four of them stand 6-foot-1 or shorter. Of the 14 athletes on the roster, nine are in either their first or second year on the squad.
With inexperience comes the opportunity for new players to fill voids. 44 percent of last year’s offense will not be returning, along with 63 percent of the squad’s steals, and 64 percent of its assists.
Under new head coach Bob Boldon’s system, both guards and post players will have to put the ball on the floor and play from the perimeter on the offense, while forcing turnovers and creating fast-break opportunities on the defensive side.
While Boldon’s squad continues to pick up his new system before its Nov. 10 opener against Xavier, here’s a look at the 2013-2014 Ohio Bobcats.
No. 3 Erin Bailes: (Senior, Huntington, W.Va.) Bailes returns to Athens as the team’s top scorer in 2012, averaging 10.6 points per contest. While free throw shooting only made up twelve percent of her offensive productivity, she still shot a team-best 89 percent from the charity stripe. She has been a consistent contributor to the squad since her freshman year, playing in at least 27 games per season. In addition, Bailes shot 36 percent from 3-point land in 2012, making her a valuable asset in Boldon’s new motion offense.
No. 4 Kiyanna Black (Sophomore, Columbus, Ohio) Black proved herself to be a well-rounded player in her first season in Athens. Her 9.6 points per game and 37 assists earned her third place on the team in both categories. Her efforts earned her a spot in the 2012 All-Mid-American Conference Freshman Team, and the title of MAC East Player of the Week last January. Look for Black to play significant minutes at the point under Boldon’s fast-paced system.
No. 2 Mariah Byard (Junior, Mannington, W.Va.) Though Byard had the second most assists on the team last season with 43 helpers, she wasn’t afraid to let shots fly from downtown. She accumulated 112 attempts on the season, sinking 35 of them. Byard’s talents not only shined on the court, but in the classroom as well. The nursing major earned a 3.843 GPA last year. Her brains, as well as her three-point stroke, will be put to work under the new system.
No. 12 Yamonie Jenkins (Freshman, Reynoldsburg, Ohio) Jenkins played a pivotal role in success of her Reynoldsburg High School squad. During her junior season, she averaged 5.7 points and 5.6 assists per contest as her team climbed to the No. 2 ranking in Ohio. Some of her honors from her efforts at Reynoldsburg include selections for the All-Ohio Capital Conference First Team, All-Central District Second Team and All-Ohio honorable mention. Boldon’s system requires a high-rate of play, something to which Jenkins is all too familiar; her 4x100-meter relay team holds the Ohio state record.
No. 5 Quiera Lampkins (Freshman, Gahanna, Ohio) Among other honors, Lampkins was named to the all-Ohio Capital Conference Team her sophomore and senior seasons and an Associated Press All-Ohio special mention after her final season at Gahanna Lincoln High School. ESPN.com labeled Lampkins a three-star recruit, giving her a scout grade of 90. Lampkins has plenty of competition at the point guard position, but look for her to be a contributor from the get-go.
No. 44 Olivia McCuskey (Senior, St. Albans, W.Va.) McCuskey comes into 2013-14 as one of the lesser experienced seniors. She has battled various injuries, resulting in a total of 35 game appearances in three seasons, including only one last season. During her first two years in Athens, she saw 149 total minutes off of the bench. McCuskey could add another dimension to the guards if she is able to stay healthy.
No. 14 Kat Yelle (RS Sophomore, Geneva, Ill.) Before falling victim to the injury bug last season, Yelle’s freshman campaign showed potential. In 11 games, she snagged 38 rebounds, scored 43 points, and made 24 steals. Her freshman campaign also came to a close early on in the season. If Yelle avoids injury, her ability to come off of the bench and force turnovers could be crucial.
No. 10 Lexie Baldwin (Sophomore, Hattiesburg, Miss.) As a freshman, the aggressive Baldwin led the squad in both in rebounding and blocking, with 159 boards and 25 rejections. The forward played in all 29 of Ohio’s games last season, proving herself as a viable option off the bench. She shot a team-best 44 percent from the field, with many of her scoring opportunities coming in the paint. Her strong play at the rim will be vital on both ends of the floor.
No. 22 Hannah Boesinger (Freshman, Hudson, Ohio) With an offense in need of a spark, Boesinger will be a valuable part of the solution. During her senior season at Hudson High School, Boesinger averaged 19.3 points per contest, scoring in double digits in all but one game. Despite standing at only 5-foot-11, Boesinger snagged at least 10 boards during 11 different games her junior season. Her aggressive offensive play just might earn her some minutes in her debut season.
No. 40 Samantha Buls (Junior, Linganore, Md.) The 6-foot-4 Buls is the tallest player on Ohio’s roster. Despite her height, Buls has not seen a lot of playing time over the past two seasons. The center has registered only 58 total minutes in a Bobcat uniform. In 2012, she snagged six boards and dished out three assists. If Buls can manage some more playing time, she could be a viable post option for Boldon.
No. 42 Destini Cooper (Freshman, Reynoldsburg, Ohio) Cooper joins her high school teammate Jenkins in her first season at Ohio. The 6-foot-1 forward averaged 9.9 points and 7.4 rebounds per contest during her junior season of high school. Cooper showed the ability to put up big points during high school, which will give her opportunities to come off of the bench and contribute.
No. 24 Ellen Smith (Junior, Dayton, Ohio) Standing at 6-foot-3, Smith is the second tallest player on the roster. During the 2012 campaign, Smith only managed to register seven minutes over the course of four appearances. If she stays healthy, Smith could play a pivotal role in the post game.
No. 20 Tmisht Stinson (Freshman, Hattiesburg, Miss.) Losing is not something to which Stinson is familiar. Her Forest County Agricultural squad accumulated a 78-9 record over her four years, including a 24-5 mark during her final year. She nearly averaged a double-double during her senior season, averaging 18 points and 9.4 assists per contest. A winning mentality like Stinson’s will be key for the Bobcats moving forward.
No. 14 Yasmine Weatherspoon (Freshman, Columbus, OH) Weatherspoon comes to Athens as one of the more athletic players on the team. In addition to basketball, she was also a stand-out volleyball and high jump athlete at Northland High School. ESPN.com ranked her as a three-star recruit, describing her as “tall and lanky, but with a nice upside.” In addition, she also has a sense for success; her Northland squad went 22-2 (14-0) last season. Her shot-blocking abilities will be valuable as Ohio tries to close up driving lanes.