BSC Lady Blues Step Up the Temp in '97-98
Speed. . . it's been the trademark for Bluefield State College's new women's head basketball coach Kenny Osborne since his arrival at the campus a couple of months ago. "Speed" will also be a signature style for his inaugural Lady Blues' team, which opens its season at home against Concord, November 18. With outstanding quickness and depth in the backcourt, Osborne looks for his club to play a hustling, full-court brand of hoop. "We have good quality and outstanding depth among our perimeter players," he noted before a recent practice. "Although we can be successful with a halfcourt attack, I believe we can be more effective by looking to play a faster game." Returning veterans Wendy Black and Jennifer Douglas anchor the backcourt. Douglas led the WVIAC in three-point shooting accuracy last year, and Black blossomed as a scorer. Another key player from a year ago, Deneeka Burs, returns for her final season. "Wendy and Jennifer have the potential to be explosive scorers, either in a transition game or in the halfcourt, and Deneeka is a true quarterback as our point guard," Osborne said. Depth in the perimeter game is provided by sophomore Angie Webb, "a very pleasant surprise in preseason," according to the coach, freshman Amanda Kennedy, senior Lisa Applegate, and defensive-stopper Shonda Wilson. Sophomore Stephanie Meadows has also made significant strides. The former Summers County star figures to share time with Black and Douglas on the perimeter. Transfer student Nicole Huff is also a college-experienced force on the wing. "We can rotate players in and out, all day, with our perimeter game and remain very solid," Osborne stated. At the power forward, Shelley White figures to start. "Shelley is as good an athlete as we have on the team," Osborne added. Freshman Lori O'Quinn has the three-point shot and strength to play immediately, according to the coach. In the post, Jessica McClanahan and Leslie Roberts will split time. "Jessica is very sound fundamentally, and she's shown great improvement," Osborne said. "Leslie is a strong player, someone who knows how to play the pivot in the conference," he noted. The Lady Blues appear to have enthusiastically endorsed the new, faster style of play. "I think our players enjoy the freedom that's now available to them when they play. We'll definitely play a lot of people and we'll depend on forcing the action a little, offensively and defensively," Osborne said. The schedule includes 19 conference games, along with strong nonleague tests against schools like Lincoln Memorial, Cumberland College, North Carolina Central, Livingstone, and Bluefield College. "To be successful, we'll need to be relatively injury-free, experience a little luck, and get great leadership and direction from our seniors," the coach observed. "We've got a great tradition (averaging 20 wins per year over the past nine years) and we're ready get started."