CSC Women’s Basketball Team Has Long Roster

Chadron State College Women’s Basketball Coach Janet Raymer said that after going through the COVID Pandemic in 2020-21 when the Eagles were able to suit up just seven players in one game and only eight or nine in several others, she will always make sure there are plenty of players on the roster to cover any eventuality.

This year’s roster has 22 names. The coach acknowledges that not all of them will play this season, but at least there will be enough to scrimmage against and to compete for playing time.

Four members of last year’s team graduated. They include four-year starter Jori Peters, who averaged 32 minutes on the court, mostly as the point guard, during her four-year career. The others are Bailey Brooks, Brittni McCulley and Tatum Peterson, all part-time starters who averaged from 14 to 17 minutes on the court last season, when the Eagles finished 7-19.

It’s largely because Raymer hit the recruiting trail so hard in 2021 and added 15 players to the roster that this year’s team is so large. Fourteen of the 2021 recruits have returned. College officials applaud that kind of retention. It means students like Chadron State.

The only one of the 15 who didn’t come back, promising center Micheala Dammann, was planning to return, but was accepted into dental hygiene school, something she could not turn down.

The current roster also includes two “old-timers,” to use the term loosely. This is their third year as Eagles. They are forward Shay Powers and guard Olivia Waufle, who were freshmen in 2019-20. But since it did not count as year of eligibility because of COVID, they are only sophomores in eligibility this season.

This year’s team also includes 6-foot-3 transfer Awoti Akoi, who also came to CSC in 2021-22, but was not eligible to play last winter, and five true freshmen. (More about them later.)

Raymer is confident this year’s team not only has quantity, it also has quality. She expounds:

“I have high hopes for this group,” the coach said. “We have excellent depth, have more height and have players who have worked hard to develop their game during the past year. From what I’ve seen, all of the returnees are improved. We also have physically strong players. I think we’ll be really competitive. I’m optimistic.”

Powers and Worrell were last year’s scoring leaders and are expected to anchor this year’s team.

Powers averaged 13.9 points a game while shooting a team-best 43.8% from the field and 75% from the free throw line while going there 157 times, second high in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. She also paced the Eagles at six rebounds a game.

Worrell spent much of last season at point guard so Peters would have more chances to shoot, and did everything well. She averaged 11.8 points, shot 35% from the field while making a team-best 53 treys, was the second-leading rebounder, had more assists than turnovers and played solid defense.

With the season opener still two weeks away, Raymer isn’t ready to say who the other probable starters may be

Returnees Riley Aiono and Emily Achter both started about half the time last year, so they are possibilities. The only senior on this year’s roster, Olivia Pacheco, and Waufle each played about 16 minutes a game.

Raymer believes both the tallest and smallest players will make an impact. That would be Akoi, a member of Bishop O’Gorman High’s South Dakota’s state championship team in 2016-17, and a 5-4 guard with impressive quickness, Kyra Tanabe, the first Hawaiian to play basketball for the Eagles.

The other redshirts also are vying for playing time and the coach is not leaving out the true freshmen when she thinks about the possibilities.

The latter include two first-team all-staters from Wyoming. Megan Counts is a six-footer from Green River who averaged 15 points and seven rebounds last winter, and 5-8 Allison Olson of Douglas averaged 18.4 points and 6.9 rebounds while drawing enough fouls to go 158 of 234 at the free throw line as a senior.

Another frosh is Camren Morris, a second-team all-state honoree from Idalia, Colo., where she averaged 17.5 points and 6.4 rebounds. The other rookies are Nebraskans Bria Delimont of Ainsworth and Kailey Klein of Sioux County High. All three are from small schools who might benefit from redshirting as rookies.

The Eagles will play an exhibition game at Northern Colorado in Greeley on Friday, Nov. 4, then open the season by hosting Texas A&M-Kingsville and Texas A&M International from Laredo on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 11 and 12.

The schedule also includes home games against Wayne State and Nebraska-Kearney on Nov. 16 and 17 and tilts at Northwestern of Iowa and Augustana in late November before the RMAC schedule opens Dec. 2 and 3 in the Chicoine Center against Colorado State-Pueblo and New Mexico Highlands.

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