Centre women will have point to prove

November 12, 2003|JILL ERWIN

Centre College women's coach Jennifer Ruff knew she'd have to replace three graduated starters this season, but she planned on having an experienced point guard to lead the new crew.

However, Amy Barlow's knee hasn't rehabilitated the way she had hoped and the senior guard will also miss the upcoming season which starts Nov. 21 when the Colonels host the Country Hearth Tournament.

"Our biggest fight is if we can find someone to play the point for us," Ruff said. "We've got to be consistent at the point guard position, and do it with people that have not played that position before. It's going to be a learning year in that aspect."

Barlow, a former Casey County standout, had surgery in the spring. She was still experiencing pain last month when it was discovered that she had other damage in the knee. She is scheduled to have another surgery on Nov. 19. She will then undergo an expected three-month rehabilitation.


The loss of Barlow is just one part of a revolving door that has seen the Centre roster drop from 15 players on last year's 13-14 team to 10 this year. The Colonels graduated Sarah Fouts, Beth Johnson and Jennifer Patterson, who accounted for more than a third of Centre's offense.

Add in the loss of Barlow and the transfers of Misti Carpenter and Laura McClung and Centre is missing 49.8 points a game from its 67.8 point average last season. The Colonels are losing their top five scorers and top two rebounders.

"We have a lack of experience in game situations," Ruff said. "We have had some people that played backup minutes that have to move into a different role. We have people that were backing up the backups that now have to contribute. We have to do the best we can with what we have.

"It's like building a new car, putting it together from scratch. It's just going to take some time."

Seniors Virginia Lowery (3.9 points, 3.1 rebounds) and Nessa Timoney (1.8 points, 1.3 rebounds) and junior Liz Braun (4.1 points, 3.8 rebounds) each played in all 27 games last year, and are the bulk of the returning experience. Mary Klee, a 5-11 sophomore, played in 25 games, averaging 3.7 points and 2.6 rebounds.

"Virginia and Nessa are doing a great job of being vocal leaders, keeping everybody together," Ruff said. "We talk about how our attitude is a reflection of the leadership we have and we have a good attitude."

Braun, Klee and sophomore Shelly Johnson (2.1 points, 1.4 rebounds) will get the bulk of the minutes down low along with Lowery.

Junior Stacey Woodrum of Casey County, a 5-6 guard who averaged 1.1 points last year in 13 games, and lone freshman Casey Geiman (a 5-7 guard) will look to fill Barlow's shoes at point. However, neither has any experience at that position.

Sophomore forward Chelsea Wessel is expected to be one of the team's top scorers after averaging 4.6 points a gamelast year. Rounding out the roster are former Mercer County guard Jacqueline Coleman and sophomore guard Melissa Hope.

With only 10 players, Ruff knows this will be a team that has to win with grit and determination.

"We're going to have to be a scrappy, hustling team. That and we've got to be great defensively," Ruff said. "We have to come down and just have that attitude that no one's going to score on us, or if they do it's going to take all their energy. They're not afraid to get on the floor and go after the ball. Now we've got to fine tune the other things that are going to help us."

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