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College Basketball: Pfeiffer women’s preview

By Ronnie Gallagher
rgallagher@salisburypost.com
MISENHEIMER ó The bad news about last season for the Pfeiffer women’s basketball team is that it finished 9-18.
The good news is, the Falcons were 7-2 after Jill Thomas took over.
Even better news is that Thomas returns with a team she feels can maintain the winning ways.
She has eight incoming freshmen and just enough returning talent to hopefully surprise everyone in the Conference Carolinas. Pfeiffer was selected ninth out of 11 in preseason as the voters obviously overlooked what Thomas accomplished after taking over last season when the Falcons were 2-16.
“I’m excited about what we can do,” Thomas said. “If we work hard and get better every day, we can compete for the top two spots in the conference.”
Thomas has just two upperclassmen in Devona Knight and Domonique China.
Knight was third-team All-CC. Although she’s just 5-foot-9, she grabbed a school record 27 rebounds in one game.
“She can jump,” Thomas said. “She might actually dunk one day.”
Thomas said point guard China is very quick.
Of the newcomers, Olivia Surratt and Charlotte Fuller meet Pfeiffer’s needs inside. Fuller is the team’s tallest player at 6-foot-1.
“Our conference is guard-oriented,” Thomas said. “We’re hoping our inside play will be to our advantage.”
Thomas also welcomes a member of a high school state championship team in Salisbury’s Kia Rice.
“She’s very athletic,” Thomas said. “She’ll be a defensive threat.”
Kelly Rhoney will be a backup at point and No. 2 guard.
Other players include Shelley Reese, Jessica Walter, Brittany Cox, Celeste Caudill, Carly Booth, Jamila Harris, Ashley Zeek, Christina Harvey, Laura Chapman.
Thomas played and coached in South Dakota and brings her style to Misenheimer.
“I’m up-tempo,” she said. “I like to coach by teaching and motivating more than yelling. I like to push the ball as much as possible and play in-your-face defense ó be intense all the time.”
The favorites in Conference Carolinas is Mount Olive and Barton and Thomas says her nonconference schedule is tough. Pfeiffer starts with CIAA preseason favorite Johnson C. Smith. But she’s not worried about preseason predictions.
“”The only rankings that mean anything,” she said, “is at the end of the season.”

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