WASHINGTON, D.C. (www.howard-bison.com) - With 17 days of practice under their Nikes, the Howard University women's basketball program gears up to begin what promises to be an exciting year on the hardwood. On Wednesday, Oct. 17 HU head women's basketball Niki Reid Geckeler announces the 2012-13 Lady Bison roster.
The Lady Bison will be challenged with a tough national schedule that features multiple NCAA and WNIT opponents from the 2011-12. Eight seniors, which includes All-Americans Saadia Doyle and Tamoria Holmes, return their final run at the coveted Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Title.
For the second consecutive year the Lady Bison were the runner-up at the MEAC Tournament and for the first time in program history accepted a bid for postseason play in the WNIT, where HU fell short to Virginia 59-56 in a thrilling overtime game during the 2011-12 campaign.
This season, Lady Bison roster features eight seniors, two red-shirt juniors and one sophomore, while welcoming two freshmen to the Bison family. The group of 13 is "hungry and humble" and ready to build on their record setting 2011-12 season.
"With such a veteran group, we are very excited about this season. Each player went home this summer and really focused on improving various aspects of their game: physically and mentally. In addition we have a group of freshmen who have come in with the same focus and drive to be the best," said Coach G.
BE ALL IN, GO ALL OUT
"Since last year we have lived by the premise of, "All In" and this year is no different. For this season "All In, Go All Out" isn't a motto it is the basis of the way we do things in this program," said Coach G.
"We know that as long as we stay focused on the process and prepare the right way, that the results will take care of themselves. We take a blue collar approach to getting better which is if we come to practice each and every day with our hard hats ready to work that we will see the benefits."
"We also know that last year was just that, and we must focus squarely on this year, stay in the moment and earn each victory one possession and one game at a time," Coach G concluded.
While captains have not been designated, Coach G and her staff have identified seniors Cheyenne Curly-Payne, Doyle, Holmes and Kara Smith as leaders on and off of the floor. They also look towards these young ladies as being the emotional catalyst for this season.
"Cheyenne Curley-Payne has been our general on the floor the last couple of years. Tomaria Holmes is arguably one of the fastest and most dynamic guards in the country while Kara is the glue that holds the team together. Freshmen guard Te'Shya Heslip has come on strong during preseason and we are looking forward to some great things for her. I have all the confidence in these ladies as they run the show this season," said Coach G.
Coach G continued by commenting about her All-American post player, "Saadia has been a steady force in our program for the past three years. She has proven that she can compete with the best in the MEAC and in the nation. So we are looking forward to Saadia continuing her reckless mentality on the boards paired with her offensive prowess on the court. I am confident that she will be ready for an exciting senior year."
Along with the leadership of Curly-Payne, Holmes, Doyle and Smith, Coach G returns eight seniors, two red-shirt juniors and one sophomore from the 2012-13 roster, who will play a critical role this season.
To accompany her seasoned squad, Coach G welcomes Imani Bailey and Heslip.
"Te'Shya Heslip is a dynamic point guard. Her speed, her ability to score paired with her knowledge of the game and leadership skills will prove to be an asset to the program this season and for years to come. I am really expecting special things from her on both ends of the court this season," said Coach G.
Heslip joins the squad following a District Championship and Regional Championship with Potomac High School. The Dumfries, Va., native was named All-District, All-Region, All-State (1st team), and one of Top Ten Regional student-athletes.
"Imani Bailey is a pure scoring guard. She can shoot the deep 3 ball as well as break you down off of the dribble. She is very savvy with the ball and has a great understanding of the game. We were very fortunate when we landed these two talented players from the local DMV area. Both young women will have an immediate impact on the program," said Coach G.
Bailey hails from Laurel, Md., where she graduated from Meade High School where she was on the Honor Roll. Athletically, Bailey was named All-Conference and finished as the school's all-time leading scorer. She ended her high school career with 17 points per contests and five assists per game.
THE FIRST FOUR
HU tips-off the 2012-13 season with four consecutive road games:
For more information Howard women's basketball, visit the official HU Athletics website at www.howard-bison.com.