Women's Basketball Ready to Rock and Roll
WASHINGTON, DC – After advancing to the MEAC tournament finals last year, hopes and expectations are especially high for the Howard University women’s basketball team. The young team, which started five sophomores last season, enters the 2011-12 campaign with some valuable experience. But that is just part of the story: The Lady Bison will welcome back All-MEAC selection Zykia “Ziggy” Brown.
A 5-7 senior guard and one of the premier players in the MEAC, Brown returns to the fold after missing all of last season due to personal reasons. She averaged over 17 points per game and was an all-MEAC pick in 2009-10. She has already eclipsed the 1,000 point mark in her career.
Leading the way for the returnees is Saadia Doyle, last year’s MEAC Player of the Year, who averaged almost 20 points and 9 rebounds per game. The 5-11 red-shirt junior from Atlanta, GA has already surpassed the 1,000-point mark in her career and is on the verge of setting new records at Howard and in the MEAC.
In the backcourt, the Lady Bison will again be relying on the floor generalship of junior guard Cheyenne Curley-Payne, who has established herself as on the top point guards in the conference. The 5-4 native of Chula Vista, CA, averaged 10 points per game while the team in assists with 128 and was second in rebounds.
Tamoria Holmes emerged as one of the most explosive and dangerous guards in the conference last season. The 5-4 junior from Durham, NC, averaged a career-best 10.5 points per game while leading the team in steals with 75 and was second in assists with 89.
Adele Walton, 5-7, transferred in last season and after a short period of transition, came on to provide solid play off the bench, averaging 4.2 points per game.
Other players who played key roles in Howard’s stretch run were junior forward Kara Smith (2.8 points, 2.7 rebounds), red-shirt junior India Bradford and sophomore Jerelle Gorham.
The frontcourt continued to improve under Portia and Nicole Deterville, the 6-1 junior twins and Julee O’Neal, a 6-0 junior forward from Durham, NC.
Howard will be tested early when it takes on nationally ranked Baylor in the Pre-season Women’s NIT on Nov. 11. The Lady Bison will then travel to Columbus, Ohio to face Ohio State, who made a Sweet 16 appearance in last year’s NCAA tournament. Other non-conference opponents include Loyola (Md.), St. John’s, Seton Hall, Navy, Buffalo, Fairleigh Dickinson, Mount Saint Mary’s, and the New Jersey Institute of Technology.