Women’s basketball hit court with big expectations

Sam Houston State women’s basketball squad has some big holes to fill despite finishing off their monumental season against Tulane University in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament in March.

Currently slated fifth in the Southland Conference’s preseason standings, the Bearkats are looking to their returning players to step up as team leaders with the loss of key players including Saqueena Thomas, Chanice Smith and Britni Martin.

Junior post Angela Beadle eventually took the reins and stepped up as a leader for the ball club.

“I was forewarned that I had to put in work this summer,” she said. “I’m one of the leaders, and it’s an honor to be chosen.”

Beadle pulled down 175 rebounds for the Bearkats last season while dropping 193 points for the offense. Head coach Brenda Nichols said Beadle has stepped up to her expectations with a strong effort in the offseason.

“She’s come back and is really going to battle inside,” Nichols said.

Beadle will look for support from seniors Nyha Carter and Jasmine Johnson, who clocked a substantial amount of time on the court in 2012.

Carter has pulled down 209 rebounds in her career with SHSU basketball alternating time with Beadle for the starting post position.

Johnson averaged nearly 8-points and 5-rebounds for the Bearkats last season and will be one of the top players for them this year, according to Nichols.

“She’s done a really good job of leading us,” Nichols said. “She’s definitely come on, and is looking to score.”

Scoring will be a major point for SHSU this season with the graduation of Martin, Smith and Thomas who produced around 65 percent of the total offense. However, Nichols expects to see a lot of excitement from her other returning players and believes they will continue production in their lineup.

Junior guard Summer Fife came to the SHSU ball club last year and redshirted her first season. With three years of eligibility remaining with the Bearkats, Nichols believes that her talent on the 3-point line will shine.

“She is a three-point shooting queen,” Nichols explained. “We expect to see big things from her this season.”

Despite the many weapons in SHSU’s arsenal, coach Nichols has focused on defense this offseason.

“We’ve got to be able to transition back and play,” she explained. “We’ve worked basic defense.”

Beadle believes that the focus lies within their offense.

“Our offense has to be produced from more than one or two people,” she said. “It’s going to take a team effort.”

Beadle said that rebounding would be a major point of focus for the team this season.

Last season, senior forward Sequeena Thomas grabbed 410 rebounds off of the boards for the Bearkats, accounting for almost 30 percent of the team’s total rebounds.

“Rebounds are going to be crucial this year,” Beadle said. “We’ve got to own the boards every game.”

With a strong corps of returning and seasoned players looking to improve themselves as well as a unit, the Bearkats hold the keys to success in their hands.

“We have so many good aspects,” Nichols said. “Each player can bring something to the table and that’s what is exciting right now.

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