Women's Basketball Season Preview
The Ohio Christian University women's basketball team has high expectations for the 2012-13 season. Finishing third at the NCCAA DII National Tournament the past two seasons, Head Coach Mandy Wray, in her seventh year at the helm of the Lady Trailblazers, brings back nine returning players from last year's team, including Shelby Roe, Kara Zwick, Gretchen Meyer, Brittany Rucker, Kim Craycraft, Chelsea Black, Amy Jo Bishop, Sarah Bechtel, and Maritza Will.
Senior Shelby Roe averaged 11.1 points per game last season and is the best 3 point shooter in the program’s history. She also became only the third Lady Trailblazer to join the 1,000 point club last season. Shelby is an excellent outside shooter who has worked hard to become a versatile player that can score in a variety of ways.
Coach Wray will look for Kara Zwick to have a big year in the paint. Kara has worked hard over the summer and is ready to have a great senior season. Zwick averaged 10 points and 5 rebounds per game last season, and has continued to develop her shot from behind the arc as well.
Juniors Chelsea Black, Gretchen Meyer, Brittany Rucker, Amy Bishop, and Kim Craycraft are all looking to pick up where they left off last season. Black, a leader on the floor, is the most balanced Lady Blazer on Coach Wray’s squad. Chelsea averaged 9 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals in her sophomore campaign. She will play both the point and off-guard positions this season. Craycraft has worked hard this summer to improve all aspects of her game. She has developed excellent ball-handling skills and worked on her footwork. Coach Wray will look for her to run the point guard and off-guard position this season and keep the pace and tempo of the game up. Kim is coming back healthy and ready to play this season. Gretchen Meyer is currently nursing an injury and has hopes to be back in action in January. She will contribute in the post position this season. Gretchen gives a great post presence inside but is also an excellent shooter from the perimeter, causing match-up problems for opponents. Brittany Rucker and Amy Bishop will contribute at the guard position. They are veterans of the Trailblazer program and will certainly come up big in games for the Lady Blazers this season.
Sophomores Sarah Bechtel and Maritza Will are ready to get back in action this season. Maritza is a natural leader and an excellent defender. She plays the forward/post position, and she can run the floor extremely well. Sarah has a great knowledge of the game and is an excellent shooter. Both will contribute to the Lady Blazer’s success this season.
Coach Wray brings in 11 newcomers this season, including Asia Woodson (Toledo Bowsher), Te-Asia Smith (Gahanna Lincoln), Katie Fuller (Proctorville), Shawann Gadson (Salem International), Katelyn Danner (Waynesville), Olivia Davis (Central Crossing), Jacci Wright (Utica), Bekah Guess (Minerva), Deondra Jessie, Destiny Turner (Wright St), and Terran Aden (Wright St). Asia Woodson, the Toledo City League scoring leader for two straight seasons (21 pts/game) and 1st Team All-Conference selection, will look to make an immediate impact for the Lady Blazers this season. Asia also has an ability to create shots for her teammates. Te-Asia Smith will play the point guard position for the Lady Blazers. She is an energetic guard that brings speed, athleticism, and a passion for the game everyday. She is an extremely hard worker and a natural leader. Katie Fuller led a Proctorville High School team to a 23-1 record in her senior season at the point guard position. Katie is a hard worker and is very unselfish. She is a good defender and will play the point guard and off-guard positions for the Lady Blazers this season. Shawann Gadson will bring energy and athleticism to Coach Wray’s squad. She is an excellent defender and rebounder, and attacks the basket extremely well. Katelyn Danner, a star for the OCU soccer program this fall, will play the off guard position for the Lady Blazers. She scored a career high 35 points in a game, including 7 shots from behind the arc. Coach Wray will look to her to contribute big later in the season. Olivia Davis is coming off of an excellent volleyball season with the Lady Blazers. She will join the basketball Blazers late due to the Volleyball National Tournament, but Coach Wray expects Davis to contribute big later in the season. As a senior at Central Crossing, she was named OCC Central Division Player of the Year, averaging 13.5 points and 12.3 rebounds. She is an excellent rebounder, but she can also shoot from behind the arc. Jacci Wright, a freshman from Utica, will play the post position this season. She has worked very hard during preseason and is continuing to improve everyday. She brings physicality and rebounding in the paint. Bekah Guess (injured), Deondra Jessie, Destiny Turner, and Terran Aden have hopes to play starting this January. They are working hard in the classroom, and would all be able to contribute once they are healthy and eligible academically.
"I'm very excited about this season," said head coach Mandy Wray. "This is by far the most balanced team we have had here at OCU. We have a great combination of size, speed, shooters, and athleticism coming in to add to our solid core of returners. Our returning players and new additions give us a great combination of young women, and as long as we remember to give God the glory in all we do, I think we have the potential to have a very special season."