TERRE HAUTE —
“Less is more” is a statement with many, many meanings, attributed to many, many sources through the years.
St. Mary-of-the-Woods College women’s basketball coach Deanna Bradley could be added to that list.
Why? After seeing her roster grow to one of its largest in numbers last year, a dozen players strong, she said her squad still “underachieved”.
This year, the Pomeroys will be forced once again to do with less, with just nine players. But Bradley doesn’t think being limited by this nine-player roster is necessarily a bad omen.
“When we had 11 or 12 players last year I thought we were headed in the right direction, but they just wouldn’t play together,” Bradley stated. “But this year’s team is on the same page with the coaching staff, and that’s been good thing.
“So even with just nine players this year, we may have a better year if they stay healthy. We’re just praying we stay healthy.”
On the plus side a year ago, the Pomeroys won the Clabber Girl Trophy for the second year in a row, defeating Rose-Hulman 56-54. On the negative side, they finished a disappointing 11-15 overall.
On the plus side this year, the Pomeroys return three of their top four scorers and rebounders. On the negative side, they lost their top scorer and rebounder due to a academic transfer.
Jordan Barton (16.7 ppg, 9.7 rpg) has transferred to IUPUI, according to Bradley. Barton plans to be a walk-on at IUPUI next year. SMWC’s three top returnees are 5-foot, 9-inch junior Brittney Shaner (13.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg), 5-5 senior Chelsey Barron (7.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg) and 5-11 sophomore Chelsea Weaver (7.2 ppg, 3.9 rpg).
A fourth returnee is 5-5 senior Jenni McLeish-Marietta, a South Vermillion graduate. But she will begin the season on the injured list (ankle), reducing the Pomeroys to just active eight players. She could be out for three months or longer. In a non-basketball note, she was married in July.
A fifth returnee, 5-7 junior Whitney Allen, “had a down year as a sophomore, but we expect her to improve this year,” Bradley said.
Newcomers include one sophomore, 5-9 Jessica Taylor, and three freshmen, 5-6 Lyndsi Woolems, 5-6 Alaura McKemie and 5-5 Amanda Kelly.
Woolems “is one of the top runners on the school’s cross country team, but she has a passion for basketball … a good head for the game,” Bradley noted. “She’s started the last two scrimmages. Still has a cross country build, but that will change.”
McKemie “beats herself up harder than I can do”, while Taylor “needs playing time.” “Both can score though,” Bradley added. Kelly is also a former South Vermillion player.
“We’ve played in a couple of scrimmages with Lincoln Trail College and Lake Land College,” Bradley noted. “We’re doing well, working well together and our team chemistry has been good.
“We’re not big, so we need to do the little things like blocking out, rebounding and getting to the free throw line. Our offense scored 82 points, but we lost by eight points in one of the scrimmages. So our defense still needs some work.”
SMWC opens the regular season at home vs. Indiana Tech at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
“It’s the first year in a long time since we’ve had a home opener,” Bradley said. “Only three of our first 15 games are at home too. We have a really tough schedule. Our first four games will really prepare us for our annual game with Rose-Hulman (Nov. 29).”