The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor women’s basketball team will tip off the 2016-17 season with a home game Tuesday night (November 15th). The Cru women will welcome Southwestern University to the Mayborn Campus Center for a 7:00 PM start in the season opener for both teams.
UMHB welcomes back eight letter winners and four players who started 11 or more games last season. The Cru finished 15-11 overall and went 9-5 in American Southwest Conference play. UMHB also advanced to the ASC Championship Tournament before falling to East Texas Baptist in the tournament Quarterfinals.
The back court will be led by the return of a pair of starters in point guard Meghan Turner (Jr., Midlothian) and G Destini Oakmon (Sr., Pflugerville). Turner led the Cru with 100 assists and added 4.3 points per game last season. Oakmon played her way into the starting line-up and averaged 4.5 points per game while finishing second on the team to Turner in assists. Jesslyn Poole (So., Crawford) and Tyra Gatson (So., Plano) both battled injuries early last season but are healthy this year and will be counted on to contribute.
The front court is highlighted by the return of G/F Kendra Wynn (Sr., Arlington) and G/F Jonelle Smith (Sr., Pflugerville). Smith shot 32 percent from three-point range last season and led UMHB in scoring at 13.8 points per game. Wynn was the team’s top rebounder and added 9.7 points per contest. G/F Alexandria Howze (Sr., League City) and Haven Neal (Jr., Farmersville) also contributed key minutes last season and could play their way into larger roles this year.
The Cru will also count on a deep and talented recruiting class that features 11 new faces to make a major impact. There are three transfers and eight incoming freshmen in that group and all of them will have a chance to work their way into the rotation this year.
Head Coach Mark Morefield is entering his second season at UMHB. The Cru was picked to finish second in the ASC West Division in the league’s annual Preseason Coaches and Media Poll. Smith, Wynn and newcomer Antania Newton were all named to the ASC Preseason Players to Watch list.
UMHB will offer live video and live statistics for the season opener with links to all of the coverage available at www.cruathletics.com. Following Tuesday night’s opener, the Cru women will hit the road to play a pair of games in the Whitworth Classic in Spokane, Washington on Friday and Saturday. UMHB will open American Southwest Conference play at the University of the Ozarks on November 29th.