November 14, 2001
New-look Lady Indians look to replace starsBy Ronnie Gallagher, The Salisbury Post It seemed like Lakai Brice played for the Catawba College women’s basketball team for about a decade. She made that big of an impact as the Indians went from also-rans to South Atlantic Conference champions. Brice, as well as Donna Carr and Vuokka Timola, have graduated now and they took a 25-5 record with them from last season. What can coach John Duncan do for an encore? Rather, will there be an encore at all?Duncan doesn’t know. He was forced to bring in 12 — count ‘em, 12 — newcomers. They’re all shapes and sizes and come from high school, Division I programs and overseas. “We’ll be a different team without Lakai,” he said of his four-year starter. “She always came up with the ball. She always seemed to come up with the basket if we needed to score.” Carr and Brice are currently playing for pay. Meanwhile, this year’s edition of the Indians must learn their way. Three players will take the spotlight, Duncan thinks. One is guard Ella Pasola, who transferred in from Xavier last year and had her troubles adapting. The 5-foot-9 senior guard, originally from Finland, is ready to increase her average of 8.4 ppg. of a year ago. “We’re hoping she’ll be more consistent,” Duncan said. “That’s our expectations. She should be one of our leading scorers.” Two other returning stars are inside forces in high-jumping junior Dorthell Little and aggressive sophomore Danyel Locklear. They were named co-captains. Little, 6-0, also transferred in, coming from Armstrong Atlantic. She averaged eight points, five rebounds and swatted away 52 shots. “She relies on leaping ability,” Duncan said. “She is always a threat to score and can be as good defensively as she wants to be.” And then there’s Locklear, who really came on at the end of the season — just in time to help Catawba to SAC regular season and tournament titles. “She may have been the freshman of the year but that’s my fault,” said Duncan, who wishes he had played her more early. Locklear averaged seven points and four rebounds, two categories that should be improved greatly. “She has a will to win,” Duncan said. “She wants to get open every time and she wants to steal the ball every time — she just has to learn to be patient. “Ella, Dorthell and Danyel know they have to step it up. I see them doing that.” The only other returning player is Desiree Pugh, a 6-0 forward. “She had a tough year,” Duncan said of the transfer from N.C. A&T. “She is a lot more comfortable now. She’ll be a factor.” The rest of the team is an unknown quantity, except for two more Division I transfers: Lynn Morancie of Southern Illinois and Emilee Rangle of Winthrop. Both are guards. In high school, Morancie was a Street & Smith All-American. “Lynn’s a very athletic player who can handle the ball and penetrate,” Duncan said. “Rangle is a phenomenal shooter, but she is coming off ankle surgery.” The starting point guard job might go to 5-6 freshman Ashley Cox, a deft ballhandler. “She’s looking great,” Duncan said of the Richmond, Va. product, Cox scored 1,243 points and dished out 431 assists in her prep career. Another Virginian, 5-8 Christina Carmen, is pushing Pasola at the two-guard. The top offensive threat Duncan brought in is Ice Darden, a 5-7 guard from Wilson, where she averaged 18 points as a senior. “She has a beautiful jumper and long arms,” he said. Heather Hennings of Union Pines, Julie Kaufman of Maryland and Kendall Prescott of New Hampshire are all over six feet. Prescott, 6-2, was a two-time all-state player who scored at a 16-point clip and grabbed eight boards a game. “She’s heady and smart,” Duncan said. Felicia Tate of Greensboro Grimsley and Ashley McMillan of Georgia are tall guards, while Sharanda Keith of Georgia and Stephanie Valentine of Charlotte are forwards. “Tate is hard-nosed and versatile,” praised Duncan. “She can play anywhere on the perimeter.” Coming in from Germany is Melanie Goergmaier, a six-footer who can do it all. But she is coming off a bout of mononucleosis, as well as having to learn Duncan’s system and the American language. “She has great potential,” Duncan said. “But we’re not going to pressure her.” Duncan also added a local flavor in Danielle Scearce of West Rowan. He loves her aggressiveness and said she is a tireless worker. “She’s probably got the title of Miss Hustle,” smiled Duncan, who added that he will play the 5-9 Scearce in the post. “She boxes out and runs the court. She makes people better,” he said. Duncan said patience is a key this season. “I felt like last year was going to be our year — and it was,” he said. “This year, we’ll take it day by day. We have to keep these girls focused and not take anything for granted.” How long will the growing pains linger? “I think by the end of the year, we’ll be similar to last year’s team,” Duncan said.“We could be 10-11 deep. And I think everybody can help us.” ######
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