Thursday, November 12, 2009

MISENHEIMER, N.C. – The 2009-10 outlook on the Pfeiffer University women’s basketball program brings a lot of excitement and hope with a young squad that has just two upperclassmen. This year’s recipe for success will be a simple combination of playing smart and fighting hard each and every game. The Lady Falcons will begin the ‘09-‘10 campaign this Sunday, November 15th and Monday, November 16th in the Queen City Classic on the campus of Johnson C. Smith. Sunday pits Pfeiffer against host J.C. Smith and Monday against Wingate

Two red-shirt juniors will bring a lot of experience in what hopes to be a lot of up tempo play. Devona Knight, who was an honorable mention all-conference player last year and set the school record for single rebounds in one game at 27, will look to be a floor leader with point guard Domonique China pushing the ball and being a scoring threat from anywhere on the court.

Returning with the upperclassmen are three sophomores, Jessica Walter, Jamila Harris and Shelley Reese. All three of these players will be a big impact in accomplishing this season’s goals.  Walter, a shooter from Tennessee, sat out the first semester due to injury, but ended last year shooting well. “Jessica worked really hard at getting back into great shape and increasing her foot speed during the offseason. Shelley has the ability to knock down open shots being a smart point guard who distributes the play well and Harris brings a lot to the Lady Falcons as she has the ability to run the floor, post up, knock down jumpers and defend well,” comments head coach Jill Thomas.

Eight true freshmen enter Pfeiffer this year with returning redshirt freshman Ashley Zeek Thomas and assistant coach Christian Papp expect a lot from the newcomers during their rookie seasons as they will play in big roles and soak up big minutes this season with everything they have done to improve, transitioning from their high school careers. Point guard Kellie Rhoney, guard Brittany Cox, forwards Charlotte Fuller and Olivia Surratt are players to keep your eye on this season. All four have had a great pre-season and cannot wait to get on the court on Sunday.

After pre-season workouts and scrimmages, opening weekend is here. “We play two very good teams to kick off the year,” stated Thomas. “Sunday, we open with Johnson C. Smith on their home floor. J.C. Smith is ranked number one in the pre-season CIAA poll and only lost three games at home last year. They also return the same squad that won their first CIAA championship last season and made it to the second round of the national tournament.”

The Lady Falcons are open to the tough challenge to begin the year. “We are going into this weekend confident and looking to have great ball movement along with transition defense. If we can move the ball well and get great shots, we will put ourselves in a great position to win. Against Wingate, we will need to defend their guards and not allow their post play to hurt us. They are a smart team who executes well” said Thomas.

On the overall feel of the upcoming season, “I feel really good about this year’s team and am very excited to get underway. These two games at the Queen City Classic are really going to help us for Conference Carolinas play. I tell our team everyday that we can only beat ourselves. We are young, but we have plenty of talent. If we play hard and play smart that is all I can ask of them in the end.”