2014-2015 LADY BOBCATS’ BASKETBALL OUTLOOK
The Lady Bobcats have been hard at work to provide their fans with another exciting season in 2014-15!
Coach Vest’s first year at the helm saw her Lady Bobcats post a 22-11 record and complete their season with an improbable trip to the NAIA DII Women’s Basketball National Championship. Not only did the Lady ‘Cats reach the championship, but they made an amazing run—finishing in 2nd place!
While the 2014-15 team returns only four players from last season, Vest is confident her team will be conference contenders and hopes to again play at the national championship level as they have since 2002.
The Lady Bobcats’ offense will once again feature Kayla Kepler, Brandy Uchtman and Hannah Wisdom. Kepler (5’7 G) enters her senior season with 1,031 career points. She is a catalyst for the offense—shooting 41% from 3-point range last season, taking the ball to the basket, and dishing out assists. Kepler is passionate about the game and knows what it takes to win. Alongside Kepler is Brandy Uchtman (5’10 junior F), who led the team in blocks and averaged 12.8 points per game last season. Her ability to play inside or step out and shoot the three makes her difficult to defend. Uchtman has proven her ability to step up in critical moments, take the big shots, and be successful. Hannah Wisdom, 2012-13 MCAC Freshman of the Year, is an athletic, hard-working 5’5 sophomore guard returning to the lineup at an opportune time. She has an effective pull-up jumper, ability to shoot the 3, and is quick enough to take her defender off the dribble. Gritty and tough, Wisdom posted a 48% field goal percentage as a freshman.
The Lady Bobcats take pride in their toughness and defense. Tanner Merriman, alongside Kepler, Wisdom and Uchtman, will be instrumental in fending off the opposition. Vest has high expectations for Merriman (6’1 senior C), who will likely serve as their go-to post defender. Merriman has improved her game and is building her confidence as a leader on the court. Kepler led the team in rebounds and garnered 44 steals last season, while Wisdom posted 30 steals and 110 rebounds in her freshman year; so, Vest is looking for both to make some noteworthy defensive contributions. The versatility of Uchtman will strengthen the Lady ‘Cats, having led the team in blocks last season with 31 and posting 5.5 rebounds per game. Maggie McMenamy (5’6 sophomore F), having made significant strides, is a defensive asset with her ability to guard a variety of positions. A small but steady player, McMenamy is a solid rebounder and is regularly found in the right spot doing the right thing.
This year’s recruiting class is large and filled with all-conference, all-state talent, five of whom are freshmen. Madison Wells (5’9 G) is an intelligent player who led her Nixa team to the state quarter finals. Wells is a versatile competitor able to guard almost any position. Lakin Simmerman (6’0 C) will solidify the Lady Cats at the post position. A finesse-type player who can run the floor, Simmerman is adjusting well to college-style play. Maison Bovard (6’0 C), will provide a tough presence in the paint. Bovard plays hard, rebounds, and can shoot well with her back to the basket. Shelby Roberts (5’5 G) is a solid point guard and good ball handler. In addition to having strong fundamental skills, Roberts is very enthusiastic on the court. Cheyenne Sheets (5’10 F) is returning from an injury and working hard with the goal of contributing to the team. Rounding out the newcomers is Junior Jordan Graham (5’7 G), a transfer from Evangel who will add much-needed experience. Graham is an excellent passer with a knack for driving to the basket.
Coach Vest and Assistant Stallman have been working hard to integrate these talented new players into the Lady ‘Cats system while building trust and communication throughout the team. As a result, fans can look forward to another stellar year for the Lady Bobcats in 2014-15.