Catawba women's preview
By Ronnie Gallagher
After finishing 16-12 last season, Catawba women’s coach Angie Morton sat down with assistant Ricky Joines to assess the Indians’ needs.
It wasn’t hard to figure out. Catawba needed a post presence.
So they brought in a tall group they were satisfied with. Included in the mix were two familiar faces to area fans: South Rowan’s Taylor May and East Davidson’s Elizabeth Merritt, both six-footers. They join sophomore Dana Hicks, a 5-9 All-Freshman-team star who averaged 11 points and seven rebounds.
“We thought we did a great job recruiting,” said Joines. “We got more athletic.”
Of May, he said, “In high school, she did a little bit of everything. She’s doing really well. She has been aggressive.
“Merritt comes from a winning program and that’s something we looked at.”
The freshmen join 6-2 sophomore Maggie Sullivan, who was on the SAC All-Freshman team. She averaged seven points and four rebounds.
Hopefully, they can compliment the outside stroke of senior Brooke Whitley, who should improve her 8.9 scoring average. Whitley had a team-high 44 3-pointers.
Twins Nisha and Kisha Long will provide the passes. Last season, Nisha averaged eight points and had 75 assists. Kisha scored at a 7.3 clip and had 63 assists.
A former teammate of Merritt at East Davidson, Anna Dellapenta, has transferred in from Elon.
“She’s a good shooter,” Joines said. “She gives that junior class some experience. With only one senior, you need some experience coming in.”
5-9 forward Renee Welfare (Charleston Southern) and Milica Ivanovic (Bethel, Tenn.) are other transfers.
The 5-9 Ivanovic can be electric. In an exhibition against UNC Greensboro, she went scoreless in the first half and then scored 20 in the second.
Catawba lost 1,000-point scorer Brittany Higgins and Cameron Clark but it could better its preseason ranking of fourth. Lenoir-Rhyne is everyone’s pick to win.
“We lost a few close games last year,” Joines said. “We could’ve been third or fourth.”
With the additions, the Indians could make some noise.
“We’re going to be up-tempo,” Joines said. “I think we’ll be fun to watch.”