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Season under way for Lady Patriots

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By The Staff

Special to the Sun

St. Catharine College’s Lena Bramblett opened her sixth season as head coach of the Lady Patriots when Berea College visited Saturday (see related story). And when the new season tipped off, Bramblett and her squad found themselves in uncharted territory as they transition from junior college basketball to the NAIA and the Mid-South Conference.

“We all know it is going to be tough,” said Bramblett who owns a 90-56 record through five seasons at SCC. “There are no JV teams to play anymore. We will fight for our life every day.”

The Lady Patriots will be led in the fight by some familiar faces at the guard positions. Iona Caulder, a junior who sat out last season, will orchestrate the offense form the point guard position. Caulder, from Paris, Ky., brings quickness and sure ball-handling skills to the Lady Patriots’ guard corps.

Caulder will be joined by another junior, Erin Rogers, who was one of the leading shooting guards in last year’s conference. Rogers averaged 19 points a game and shot 38 percent from three point range. She was named all-conference.

At the small forward will be Courtney Milam, a 6-0 freshman from Anderson County High School. Jennica Garrity, a freshman from Shelbyville, will be at the power forward and Danielle Brown, 5-11 will start at the post position.

Brown is a sophomore from LaRue County who sat out last season after playing her freshman year with the Lady Patriots. In that 2007-2008 season Brown, a tough defender and rebounder, averaged eight points seven rebounds ands and two blocks a game.

When Caulder takes a break, Ashley Thompkins, currently on the Lady Patriots’ soccer team, will play at the point. Tesha Wright has been slowed in the pre-season by an ankle injury but is expected to see playing time as a two guard as is junior Jana Hughes who transferred from Kentucky Christian University. Taylor Oliver and Whitney Jordan, both transfers from Roane State Community College, will add depth at the two and three spots respectively.

Inside help will come from two returnees, sophomores Symfonee Henderson (6-2) and Lauren Reed (5-10).

While Bramblett sees the new conference as a tough challenge, she is excited about the atmosphere it will create. “We will have some natural rivalries with schools close by like Campbellsville, Georgetown and Lindsey Wilson. The conference competition will be very good but we have 12 games in November before the conference starts against some really good teams.”

Following the opener against Berea the Lady Patriots remain home on Tuesday to play Union College. The pre-conference schedule stiffens with road games at Lambuth, an exhibition at D-I Austin Peay and a November 8th game at Union University (Tennessee) who was ranked number one in NAIA last season.

“Shooting is our strength because we do not have a lot of size,” added Bramblett. “We just need to have more consistency and give great effort every day in practice. We need to gel as a team on the court.”