By Wendy Jones, Interim Sports Information Director
Head Coach Melinda Campbell and the Avenging Angels basketball team open the 2012 season Tuesday, November 20, as host to the Seahawks of St. Mary’s (Md.).
“This is a new season, new team, new talent, new hopes, great possibilities,” said Campbell. “Everyone on this team is working hard, and we are steadying for any and all challenges that lie ahead.”
Meredith was picked to finish tenth in the USA South Conference preseason coaches’ poll released October 17. Campbell will rely on the leadership of captains Bryana Holmes, Tyler Gresham, Rah’nika Jones and Allyson Stephenson to improve on league expectations of this young team.
Holmes averaged 10.7 points per game and shot 83.3 percent from the free throw line during the 2011-12 campaign. Gresham averaged 3.1 rebounds during her 16.8 minutes per game and looks to be a key member of this year’s rotation. Jones will lead the efforts in the paint for the Avenging Angels. She started 16 of last season’s 22 games and contributed 4.6 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. Sidelined by injury, Stephenson will serve as a student coach and team leader this winter. She started all 16 games played as a junior with nearly 30 minutes recorded per contest. The team will miss her offensive leadership on the court but looks to continued influence from the bench.
In addition to the team captains, Meredith returns five players from the 2011-12 squad. Junior Kristen Alford and sophomores Kayanka Bailey, Diana Owens and Rebekah Cox each played in more than 20 games last season. Alford posted 7.3 points per game and 31 assists. Bailey grabbed the team’s second-most rebounds per game with 5.9 and contributed an average 8.3 points each contest. The other two sophomores added nearly three points each game with Owens posting 19 steals on the year and Cox three blocks from the lane. Junior Brittany Baker tallied 5.3 points in just 13 minutes played per game, so she looks to be a scoring threat for the Avenging Angels this season.
Four freshmen and a pair of sophomores round out the Meredith basketball roster. Laquetta Hairston will spend time at the point with Raven Gregory, Kim Hinton and Heather Wilsey contributing from the inside. Transfer McKenzi Edwards joined the program after playing in eight games with the Belmont Abbey Crusaders with Danielle Lee hitting the hardwood after a successful season as a starter for the Meredith soccer team.
Follow the basketball team and the rest of the Avenging Angels at goavengingangels.com.
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