By Jared Fields, Sports Editor
Having their season decided by a coin flip, the Wildcats are gearing up for next season in hopes for a better outcome. Head coach Shawna Lavender remains optimistic, but the team needs to rebound from a disappointing year and the loss of key senior players.
Picked to win the Lone Star Conference South Division in the preseason, the Wildcats entered divisional play with a 6-9 record and held a .500 record once in conference play.
In a sense of turning lemons into lemonade, Lavender wants her team to use this season as motivation for the next.
“I think after a year like this, the kids you have coming back are mad enough and frustrated enough that they come back with a little bit more of an attitude, kind of ready to prove something,” Lavender said.
Graduating preseason player of the year Jamie Boles-Lord and school 3-point record holder Ashley King, along with Kierstan Barbee and Haley Hammond, will leave big holes for next year’s Wildcats. Lord, King and Barbee finished two-three-four in points per game behind sophomore Alex Guiton and were the top three rebounders on the team.
Lavender expects current players to step into holes left by the departure of seniors and the more established players to improve their level of play.
“I’m excited about our younger kids coming back and what I think they bring to the team,” Lavender said.
Guiton, a two-year starter at point guard, led the LSC in minutes per game and has become the leader on the court.
Sophomore Ashlee Barr returns after starting 16 games this season and junior Lacey Blau pose an inside-outside threat. Freshman Kristee Davidson, who transferred to ACU after spending a year at California-Irvine, showed potential this season while averaging 5.6 points, three rebounds and 16.3 minutes a game. True freshman Audrey Maxwell challenged for playing time toward the end of the season and got the nod for five starts.
Other than her returning players, Lavender also likes the players she’s signed for this year’s recruiting class.
Lavender is bringing in 6-foot tall twins from Round Rock, a guard who can play forward or guard and a point guard from Fort Worth Christian, current point guard Alex Guiton’s alma mater.
Lavender said she is not done recruiting; she is still working on signing two or three more players this spring. She is spending the week in Austin for the girls high school state championship tournament to finalize her signing class.
Overall, Lavender likes the outlook of her team for next year.
“We have a good core coming back, and I’m excited about our new players,” Lavender said.