2012-13 Women's Basketball Preview
Author: Caleb Benoit
Posted: Friday, October 26, 2012 at 10:53 AM
The trajectory for the Olivet Nazarene University women’s basketball team is pointing up. This season, it will be the job of 13 returning players and four incoming freshman to make sure the program continues moving in that direction.
Last season was yet another banner year for the Tigers, who compiled a long list of noteworthy accomplishments, including recording the best record in school history (27-5), finishing the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference regular season undefeated for the first team and setting a new school record for consecutive wins (17). Ranked as high as No. 10 in the NAIA Top 25 poll — another all-time high — the Tigers also led the nation in scoring with 102.9 points per game and returned to the NAIA National Championship tournament.
The Tigers enter the season ranked 13th in the NAIA Top 25 preseason poll and are using last year’s early exit from the national tournament as motivation for success. In their first-round game at nationals, the Tigers led Shorter University (Ga.) by 13 points at halftime but struggled shooting in the second half before falling 84-83.
This year’s team will be led by first-year head coach Lauren Stamatis, who has spent the last five seasons as an assistant coach on the Tigers’ staff. During her time with the program, the Tigers have increased the number of national records they own to 18. Stamatis will continue to implement Olivet’s up-tempo, fast-paced TigerBall system.
This season, the Tigers have switched to NAIA Division II, which means more conference games in the 12-team CCAC. Posing the biggest challenges on the schedule will be conference foe St. Xavier University (Ill.), ranked No. 6 in the preseason poll, and a Christmas tournament in La Mirada, Calif., against Vanguard University (Calif.) and host Biola University (Calif.), ranked No. 4 and No. 12, respectively, in the NAIA Division I Top 25 poll.
Here’s a look at the players, sorted by class, who make up this year’s team:
Rachel Kearney, 5-8, Marion, Iowa | A strong post player and career 53-percent shooter, Kearney will see time in both the low and high post positions.
Sandy Cabadas, 6-1, Aurora, Ill. | A defensive specialist, Cabadas is difficult to score on at the back of the press and totaled 25 blocks while averaging 2.6 defensive rebounds last season.
Nikki Dier, 5-7, Temperance, Mich. | Dier has worked to develop consistency from the perimeter and will provide leadership for the newcomers players.
Devin Johnston, 5-11, Bloomingdale, Ill. | A standout defender on Olivet’s soccer team, Johnston, a strong, athletic post player, returns to the hardwood after sitting out her junior season.
Liz Bart, 5-7, Cary, Ill. | Bart shot a team-best 40 percent from beyond the arc and averaged 9.8 points per game last season. She should play an even bigger role this year.
Miranda Geever, 5-8, Moline, Ill. | Geever made the transition from shooting guard to point guard and averaged 8.1 points, 2.3 steals and 2.0 assists last season.
Malory Adam, 6-0, Aurora, Ill. | Adam led the team in blocks with 38 last season.
Taylor Haymes, 5-7, Wentzville, Mo. | Haymes shot 34 percent from beyond the arc and should play a bigger role this season.
Bridgette Jones, 5-6, Seymour, Ind. | Jones has a new role at the point guard position.
Tai Peachey, 5-5, Galesburg, Ill. | After averaging 2.0 assists last season, Peachey will serve as one of the Tigers’ point guard
Tammy Ellis, 5-7, Barrington, Ill. | After battling a number of injuries last season, Ellis should be healthy enough tackle more responsibility at the shooting guard position.
Dakota Hack, 5-10, Princeton, Ind. | Hack is shifting to a low post position, where she can more readily take advantage of her leaping ability to her advantage.
Ashley Wilson, 5-11, Portage, Mich. | Wilson led the team by shooting 58 percent from the low post position a year ago.
Cortney Allenbaugh, 5-10, Morton, Ill. | Allenbaugh brings versatility and athleticism and will contribute both at the guard and forward positions.
Jessica Gerig, 5-9, Stillman Valley, Ill. | A wing player, Gerig averaged 14.7 points as a high school senior and should thrive in the Tigers’ up-tempo system.
Krystal James, 5-6, Rockford, Ill. | The Illinois Class 4A three-point champion at the state tournament, James will see time at the wing position.
Carlee Nicolas, 5-6, Momence, Ill. (redshirt) | A feisty competitor, Nicolas will provide depth at the point guard and wing positions.