Basketball (W)

The PatriotsThe Patriots' only senior, Courtney Milam, will have a good supporting class of underclassmen.

Big recruiting class and talented returners could be right mix for Patriot women

        What is a recipe for basketball success in the tough Mid-South Conference? For the St. Catharine College women’s team, head coach Lena Bramblett thinks she has cooked up just the right concoction during this off-season.

         Start with a solid base of returning players, mix in some talented redshirts and throw in the best recruiting class in Bramblett’s nine years as top chef of the Patriot program. That is exactly the recipe St. Catharine has mixed up in hopes of rebounding from last year’s 12-21 campaign.

       “This is by far the strongest group we have ever had here,” said Bramblett who has a 122-117 record with the Patriots. We have some depth now. We were very young last year but those players got a lot of quality minutes.”

       Those young players are now sophomores in guards Machera Calhoun, Carol Ruiz-Lopez, Dee Johnson and forwards Keller Menke and Rianne Hofstraat.

        Reilly L. Poirier and Ciara Gibbs, both redshirt post-players, will add depth inside where Courtney Milam, a three-year starter will return for her senior season.

       Two transfer recruits will also shore up the Patriots’ inside game for the physical play of the Mid-South. Janae Howard, a 6-1 junior transfer from Western Kentucky University, and Kasei Evans, a 6-0 junior college All-American from Meramec Community College (St. Louis), are added to the Patriot recipe, uh, roster.

        “Kasei is big and quick,” said Bramblett. “She averaged 17 points and nine rebounds and shot 40 percent from three point range. And Janae was the leading scorer for Western Kentucky her sophomore year. She first went to Louisville when they were national runner-up. She is very athletic and a consistent shooter.”

       Also new to the Patriot program will be Lulu Jackson, a point guard who was a teammate of Evans at Meramec, and Stacie Shrout a freshman guard from Boone County. “Both are very athletic and very good competitors,” added Bramblett.

       Bramblett is still on the recruiting trail where she said she hopes to sign other freshman. But for now the Patriot mentor is elated with her 2011-2012 squad. “We have done very well recruiting. Now it is important for them to mesh together as a team with the talent we have coming back.”

      All of which could add up to a winning recipe.

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