Lady Pilots set for new season
September 11, 2012
SHREVEPORT, La. - The LSU Shreveport Lady Pilots basketball looks to have another promising year since the majority of last year's team returns to the court. The season tips-off on the road at SAGU for a pair of games with Wayland Baptist and Dallas Christian College beginning on November 9 and 10.
Amanda Fontenot is the key lost for the Lady Pilots. Although she only started two games she played in 26 and averaged 2.1 assists per game off the bench. While they will miss the production of Fontenot they look forward to see what the freshman, Jessica Carper, can do. Carper, a 6-0 forward, won a pair of state championships at Louisiana New Tech High School; also formally known as Plain Dealing High School.
The Lady Pilots are loaded with players coming back from last year's squad that finished the season with a 25-9 overall record and just as impressive a 21-3 Red River Athletic Conference record with a 2nd place finish in the Regular Season standings, just one game behind Langston.
Post season play was exciting as well for the Lady Pilots as they won the first two games in the RRAC Tournament to earn a berth in the tournament championship. Unfortunately the Lady Pilots fell on the short end of a three-point game, 76-73, to Our Lady of the Lake University for the title.
Sharde Henry returns for her senior year after an outstanding season last year as she led the Lady Pilots with 14.3 points per game, seven rebounds per game, and 2.24 steals a game. Henry's efforts earned her the RRAC Newcomer of the year, RRAC first team, NAIA honorable mention All-American, Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA) All-Louisiana Newcomer of the Year, and LSWA Second Team All-Louisiana.
Jenna Diakos will also be back for her junior season. The 5-10 forward from Ragley, Louisiana was selected the RRAC First Team a year ago as she started every game for the Lady Pilots and was second on the team to Henry in points per game with 13.4 and 6.8 rebounds per game. Through the last two seasons Diakos has played in a total of 56 games and has averaged nearly 12 points a game.
The long shot of Christy Willis will be welcomed back as well after shooting 41 percent from downtown a year ago. The senior from Houston, Texas, is one of three Lady Pilots returning off last year's team that averaged double figures as she finished with 10 points per game.
The unselfish play of Meoshi Bradley will be back as well for Coach Howell's club as the senior guard from Pine Bluff, Arkansas, averaged nearly four assists per game last year and still managed to toss in seven points per game.
Other key returners that played a significant amount of time last season include senior guard Kylie Leonards who played in 24 games and averaged two assists per game despite suffering an injury that sidelined her for 11 games. Brittany Maddox and Victoria Smith gave the Lady Pilots some quality minutes off the bench last season and look to have another good year.
The Lady Pilots are also hoping to have Jennifer Hicks back for one more year. The senior, who could receive a medical hardship to play one more year downing the Lady Pilots uniform, ranked sixth in the NAIA last season with 70 total blocks. She could be the final piece that makes this team one of the best in LSUS' women's basketball.
With all of the returners from last year's second place finishing team for the Lady Pilots returning and last year's champion Langston getting a new coach, it will be interesting to see where they are predicted to finish with the RRAC Pre-Season Coaches' Poll.