Lady Saints aim to build on last season


Crusader photo/James McElvania Lanelle Taylor, center, celebrates her signing with assistant coach Kim Ortega, right. Taylor signed to the University of Texas Arlington. Teammate Amanda Pierson, seated at table, signed to play at the University of Arizona.

The 2008-2009 Lady Saint basketball team added onto the successful basketball tradition at Seward County putting up an overall record of 28-6 while falling a game short of clinching a national tournament berth.
The 28 wins marked the 17th straight time the Lady Saints have reached the 20 win plateau.While leading the Jayhawk West in points scored per game (77.5), the Lady Saints fell short of the regular season conference championship finishing 13-3 putting them in a tie for second with eventual Region IV champion Hutchison.
In the Region VI playoffs the Lady Saints breezed through the first two games winning by a combined 62 points.
The Lady Saints would not find the semi-final game as easy as they pulled out a 55-54 win against Cloud County.
In the championship game the Lady Saints found themselves matching up with Hutchison for the third time of the year. The Lady Saints would play from behind most of the night and fall two points short of the Region VI title.
Head Coach Toby Wynn said it was a good year for the program.
“We gave ourselves a chance,” Wynn said in reference to making it to the regional title game.
Two Lady Saint players were recognized for their performance during conference and regional play as Rachel Barnes and Amanda Pierson both received all-conference and all-region honors.
As a freshman, Barnes, who averaged 15.1 points and 8.4 rebounds a game during Jayhawk West play, received first team all-conference and all-region honors.
Barnes was happy about the award and gave credit to Wynn and her dad for achieving the awards.
“Coach helped me be a better player,” Barnes said. “He told me what I did wrong not right.”
“In her second year at Seward County Pierson was chosen second team all-conference and honorable mention all-region as she averaged 13.6 points and 5.4 rebounds a game.
Wynn said Barnes and Pierson were well deserving of the honors.
“They both stepped their games up another level during conference,” Wynn said.
Two more Seward County players joined a long list of former Lady Saints to sign with Division I schools as Pierson inked her name with the University of Arizona while LaNell Taylor did the same with the University of Texas at Arlington.
Pierson will join Coach Niya Butts as she enters her second year as the Wildcats head coach.
Butts was a member of back-to-back National Championship teams for legendary Head Coach Pat Summit at Tennessee.
Pierson said it wasn’t her goal to play at the Division I level just to say she played Division I basketball.
“I had the same feeling when I came to Seward County,” Pierson said about her vist to UA. “That was a good decision. It was a gut feeling.”
As Pierson heads to Arizona, Taylor joins a Maverick team which went 22-11 and made the Women’s National Invitation Tournament.
Taylor gave credit to Coach Wynn and the Seward County program on signing with a Division I school and said a big reason for choosing UTA was the close proximity to her home in Houston.
“My mom hasn’t seen one game,” Taylor said. “I just wanted them (family) to see me play.”
Three other Seward County players, Raegan Brodie, Vanessa Simmons and Karen Brown, are still deciding on where they will continue playing, according to Wynn.
A really good group with great guard play returns to the Lady Saint program for the 2009-2010 season, according to Wynn.
Of the seven players returning, the Lady Saints will welcome back their leading scorer and rebounder in Barnes and their leader in assists with Megan Lassley.
However, there are still some questions inside as Nadia Rosario and Cleyder Blanco are both coming back from knee problems, Wynn said.
With a strong core coming back, Wynn has already started to add to the talent pool having signed four players.
As of now, Wynn has signed Tameka Sanchez from Liberal, Sumr Robinett from Sublette, Morgan Skomal from Haven and Kameri Turner from Perryton, Texas.
Wynn said he is still trying to sign two more in-state as well as two more out-of state players for next season.