FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ST. CATHARINE COLLEGE SPORTS INFORMATION Tuesday, March 11, 2014
WOMEN'S BASKETBALL SEASON IN REVIEW
Rebuilding a basketball roster is not always the easiest of tasks and following a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) National Tournament appearance in 2013 and the graduation of two NAIA All Americans, the St. Catharine Lady Patriots found out exactly how difficult it can be to rebuild a roster.
The St. Catharine Lady Patriots came into the 2013-2014 season knowing that they would be faced with the gargantuan task of replacing NAIA All Americans Janae Howard and Reilly Porier. Despite the difficulty of their task, if it had not been for a few last second missed opportunities, the Lady Patriots could be reflecting on a completely different season in 2014. The Lady Patriots would get the ball rolling early with a convincing 106-68 win over Miami University-Middletown, but would be unable to capitalize as they dropped four straight, including their opening conference contest against the University of Pikeville. However, the Lady Patriots would surge back strong, when a hungry Bluefield Rams squad, that blanked the Patriots in 2012-2013, invaded Lourdes Hall. Heather Sandlin (Florence, Ky.) would strike for 18 points along with five assists to lead a balanced Patriot attack to a 78-74 victory, breathing life back into the Lady Patriots.
In their next contest, the Lady Patriots would hit the road to snag an impressive 65-57 victory over Milligan when the guard combo of Heather Sandlin and Machera Calhoun (Fort Meyers, Fla.) combined for 22 of the Patriots’ 65. Unfortunately for the Patriots, their winning streak would be halted at two; after falling in two straight conference matchups the Lady Patriots were ready to rebound with a win against fellow Patriot Cumberland’s. After trailing by only one at the half, the Lady Patriots rode the leadership of Calhoun with 26 points, until they would fall just sort in the final seconds 75-69.
In their next eight contests the Lady Patriots would make lives difficult for opposing coaches by keeping every contest close. Unfortunately for the Patriots, their limited bench would become their Achilles heel as teams outscored the Patriots 1107-871 in the second half. However, this would not stymie the tenacity of a hungry Patriots squad when they eked out a thrilling victory over Wilberforce University in early February to bring the losing streak to screeching halt.
With the win the Lady Patriots had regained their confidence, but would have it stolen away once more in their next contest with Shawnee State. After battling back from a 14 point deficit, the Lady Patriots would take the lead with just under a minute remaining. With overtime just over the horizon, the Lady Patriots prepared themselves for one last defensive stand with just two tenths of a second remaining and the contest tied at 63. With the undersized Patriot defense ready to defend the last second tip, the Bears were able to shatter the Patriots’ hope of rallying for a conference tournament bid by pushing the final tip in for a 65-63 victory.
Despite their struggles in 2013-2014 the Lady Patriots managed to finish in the top 10 in the nation for blocks per game with 4.68. Rianne Hofstraat (Netherlands) led the way with third place national ranking for both blocks per game (3.76) and total blocks (94). Heather Sandlin scored a top 15 national ranking with 4.773 assists per game, while fellow guard Machera Calhoun tallied 4.00 assists per game. On offense the Patriots were led by Calhoun with 13.40 points per contest, while Rianne Hofstraat snagged a team leading 142 rebounds. Hofstraat scored the teams’ only triple-double of the season when she scored 36 points along with 11 rebounds and 12 blocks against Milligan College on December 14th in Lourdes Hall.
The Patriots will graduate three outstanding seniors, who were all major contributors to the 2013 National Tournament Appearance. Machera Calhoun, will complete her degree in Radiologic Technology and be remembered as one of the most dominate guards in the Mid-South Conference. Carol Ruiz-Lopez (Fort Meyers, Fla.) and Rianne Hofstraat will complete their degrees in Biology and be remembered as a lethal combo from behind the arc. In 2014-2015 the Lady Patriots will look to expand on a solid foundation of five returners that have seen significant playing time in their careers. The Patriots will tip off the 2014 campaign in early October and begin another quest for a Mid-South Conference title.