By Amanda Parrish, Staff Writer
As the beginning of the basketball season approaches, seven newcomers join the Lady Bulldogs basketball team.
Mark Campbell, head women’s basketball coach, said the team is adding four freshmen and three transfers. With the seven new players, this season will take on a new look.
Two of the four freshmen joining the team are from the United States, with two from overseas. Amy Philamlee, freshman undecided major, is an all-state player from Arkansas. Emily Sissom, freshman exercise science major, broke a Tennessee record for three-pointers in her last year in high school.
Astrid Huttemann, undecided major from Paraguay, and Adenike Dawodu, physical education and health major from Nigeria, will be two other freshmen who, “will be very good players here,” Campbell said.
Philamlee said she is most looking forward to and enjoying the relationships being built with her teammates.
“All of them are so supportive and we are really close already,” Philamlee said. “We’ve got a lot of new girls on the team, but I can tell we are going to be really close this year.”
The transfers will have the opportunity to improve their skills and build team chemistry. Newcomers Shelby Ashcraft, sophomore nursing major, Christina Coney, junior athletic training major, and Mrashi Karumba, junior physical education and health major from London, England, will bring more talent to the game.
Campbell said Coney led the U.S. in scoring two years ago in junior college but will not be playing at Union until next semester due to eligibility.
In recruiting the new students, Campbell said it was a matter of faith to bring the people he wanted to Union.
“The best we can do is trust that God is going to have the people here that he wants for us to be a part of their lives,” Campbell said.
Returning this season are Lavanda Ross, senior social work major, who was named an NAIA first team All-American; LaTesa McLaughlin, junior social work major, who played point guard last year; and Mildred Olumasi, junior social work major from Kenya, who is experienced on the court. Paige Parker, a redshirt sophomore elementary education major, will also be returning this season.
“Right now we are learning the system,” Parker said. “It’s a learning process for all of us, even the older ones. We’re figuring out how we’re going to mesh as a team and do our roles.”
Parker said things are going well on all accounts and the team is learning to work together.
Campbell said he is unsure how everything will look once the team is playing, but he added he has high hopes for the future.
“They are all teachable and have great hearts,” Campbell said. “It is a great foundation for us to get better and better as the year goes on. This team has the biggest chance to improve more than any other team I have ever had.”
Philamlee said she has already learned much since practices began and said she is looking forward to growing more as a basketball player and an individual in the coming season.
The Lady Bulldogs’ start the season at home Nov. 1 against Hannibal-LaGrange University.