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October 8, 2008

2008-09 Women's Hoops Profiles

By: Matt Kovatch

21 Brittany Cook Redshirt senior
Guard 6-0
Narrows, Va.

Inside the numbers: Started all 30 games and led the ACC with 17.9 points per contest … Had great percentages, ranking sixth in the league (and first among guards) with a field-goal percentage of 50.2 and seventh in the league with a free-throw percentage of 76.6 … Also hit 35.7 percent of her 3-pointers … Led the team and ranked 17th in the league with 6.4 rebounds per game … Finished second on the squad with 76 assists and 49 steals … Set Tech’s single-game scoring record with 36 points at Miami on Feb. 11th.
Analyzing Cook’s game: Not much needs to be said about the Hokies’ most reliable and well-rounded player. Opponents obviously know what she is capable of now, so it will be up to her teammates to step up and take some attention away from her. If that happens and Cook gets the chance to pick her spots, she could be even more effective.
Quick comments: “She does what she does, but she’s also good at including everyone around her,” head coach Beth Dunkenberger said. “When she can make those decisions and keep shooting in the 50s, that’s phenomenal. As a guard, it’s unbelievable to not only lead the league in scoring, but also to be near the top in field-goal percentage.”

31 Amber Hall Senior
Tallahassee, Fla.

Inside the numbers: Started all 30 games and averaged 6.1 points per game … Shot 41.1 percent from the field and made 25 of 29 free-throw attempts … Was just 14 rebounds shy of the team lead, averaging 5.9 per game … Led the Hokies with 53 blocked shots (sixth most in the ACC) and chipped in with 26 steals.
Analyzing Hall’s game: Hall has always been hampered by a bad back, but team doctors have said she is the healthiest she’s been since arriving at Tech. If she can maintain that, she’ll continue to be the most solid post player on a team that has few. She is unique in that she can defend the other team’s best player in the post, but can lure that same player away from the basket on the other end with her top-of-the-key jumper.
Quick comments: “She’s got nice range, and really, she’s got great 3-point range – we just never see her shoot it in games,” Dunkenberger said. “But she’s done a nice job of working on her low-block moves as well, so that she can be an inside-outside punch. She looks good.”

22 Laura Haskins Senior
Alexandria, Va.

Inside the numbers: Started all 28 games in which she played, averaging 5.9 points per contest … Finished third in the ACC with 4.75 assists per game and a 1.64 assist-to-turnover ratio … Ranked 10th in the league with two steals per contest … Grabbed 4.6 rebounds per game and accomplished the rare feat of shooting better from the 3-point arc (14-of-36 for 38.9 percent) than from the field (34.4 percent) … Made 40 of 51 free throws.
Analyzing Haskins’ game: Haskins does a little bit of everything in her role as the floor general and has improved in many areas over her career. She is a great rebounder for a point guard and has become a more-trusted ball-handler and decision maker. She plays good perimeter defense and her ability to sink a few jump shots or add a couple of breakaway layups makes her a jack-of-all-trades.
Quick comments: “Laura is an overachiever – she takes time to figure out what she thinks her weaknesses are and she works on those in the offseason,” Dunkenberger said. “That’s why you’ve seen her get better from the 3-point line and that’s why you now see her No. 2 in the league in assists and assist-to-turnover ratio (now that UVa’s Sharnee Zoll has graduated). She studies the game and tries to figure out where she can be better.”

14 A.J. Lemaitre Senior
Fairfax, Va.

Inside the numbers: Played just 38 minutes over seven games, hitting five of 16 field-goal attempts and two of three free throws for a total of 12 points … Grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out four assists … Recorded one block and one steal.
Analyzing Lemaitre’s game: Lemaitre’s junior season was ended by a torn ACL in late January, and the word is it’s not healing very quickly. She’s never gotten much time on the court to begin with, and the knee troubles surely won’t help her cause. However, Lemaitre has a good basketball IQ and an upbeat personality, which makes her invaluable on the bench and in the locker room.
Quick comments: “Her rehab has been slow and it’s not responding extremely well,” Dunkenberger said. “It’s going to be a situation where her knee will determine how much she can do this year.”

20 Lindsay Biggs Junior
Midlothian, Va.

Inside the numbers: Played in 29 games and was called on to start six times … Led the team with 32 3-pointers made on her way to an average of 5.1 points per game … Increased her assist total from 19 as freshman to 37 as a sophomore, but also raised her turnover total, committing 55 … Shot 32.5 percent from the field and pulled down 53 rebounds.
Analyzing Biggs’ game: Biggs never got going last year and struggled with her confidence, which led her to pass up some shots and make passes that weren’t there, resulting in too many turnovers. However, she is said to be looking much more confident now, and with one of the smoothest strokes around, this may be the year that she becomes a quick-strike scoring threat off the bench.
Quick comments: “She struggled last year, but once the season ended, she really made a commitment to get in the best shape she’s been in, and if you look at her, you can see a physical difference,” Dunkenberger said. “She is one of the best 3-point shooters in the league, and she’s just got to have the confidence to fire it any time she’s open.”
15 Utahya Drye Junior
Durham, N.C.

Inside the numbers: Played 32.8 minutes per game while starting all 30 contests … Was third on the team with 9.6 points per game and second with 6.1 rebounds per game … Was also third in both assists (64) and steals (41) … Was a 45.9 percent field-goal shooter and a 70.1 percent free-throw shooter.
Analyzing Drye’s game: Drye is the ‘athlete’ whom you see in surplus on many of the great teams around the nation – someone who makes a difference simply by her ability to run, jump and get out into transition. She’s developed into more than that, though, and is versatile enough to play in the post or on the outside. She’s a legitimate threat on both sides of the ball.
Quick comments: “We just look for Utahya to expand on what she can do,” Dunkenberger said. “She’s worked hard on her range and is trying to move herself farther away from the basket to help her ability to score because she’s already a great slasher. She’s worked hard in the weight room and is definitely one of the fittest and fastest players on our team.”

24 Lakeisha Logan Junior
Scarboro, W. Va.

Inside the numbers: Made two starts in 26 games played, averaging 1.5 points in 9.4 minutes … Shot 33.3 percent from the field … Pulled down 15 rebounds, handed out 21 assists and made 13 steals.
Analyzing Logan’s game: Logan barely played as a freshman, but finally saw some time as a sophomore in a backup role. She is more of a shooter/scorer-type than a point guard, so the addition of Nikki Davis will allow her to play more as a shooting guard. Logan could be a nice role player if she stays in shape and is ready when her number is called.
Quick comments: “Keisha’s not quite as tall as a lot of shooting guards in the league, so she has to make up for it with speed,” Dunkenberger said. “She has worked hard to be in better shape and to keep up at that pace. It’s a fast game, and because she’s not as tall, she’s got to have some speed and quickness. That’s what she’s working to maintain and develop.”

5 Andrea Barbour Sophomore
Charlottesville, Va.

Inside the numbers: Saw action in 26 games and made 24 starts … Led ACC freshmen in scoring, and ranked 11th overall, with 15 points per game … Grabbed 94 rebounds, half of which were offensive, for a 3.6 per-game average … Made 38 steals and blocked 17 shots … Shot 41.9 percent from the field … In just her third game, tied the sixth-highest single-game point total in Tech history with 29 against Liberty.
Analyzing Barbour’s game: Barbour’s talent is undeniable, as anyone who watched her last season could attest. She can get to the basket at will and can finish in traffic with the best of them, but at times, she did not appear to be totally invested in the game. Whether that was because her skills make things look easier for her or because she kept injuring a shoulder that she wound up having surgically repaired in July, she’s back and ready to build on a tremendous rookie campaign. She is still rehabbing the shoulder, and the staff hopes for her to return to action sometime in December.
Quick comments: “I think Kat is refocused, rededicated and willing to give 100 percent to this team,” Dunkenberger said. “She underwent surgery this summer to repair the shoulder that she kept injuring last year, and she’s progressing nicely through that.”

Elizabeth Basham Sophomore
Abingdon, Va.

Inside the numbers: Appeared in 16 games, playing 8.4 minutes and averaging 2.4 points per contest … Went 17-of-28 from the field for a percentage of 60.7 … Tallied 15 rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two steals.
Analyzing Basham’s game: Basham got off to a nice start before missing a chunk of the season with mono, and she was never same after that. She’s the type of player who won’t wow you when she’s in there, but who also rarely makes a mistake. She knows the game, plays solid defense and keeps opposing defenses honest with her baseline jumper.
Quick comments: “Had she not gotten mono, I think she would’ve had a great rookie campaign,” Dunkenberger said. “But she missed about three weeks where she could do absolutely nothing, and she obviously came back out of shape and a little behind. But she is a fundamentally sound player who understands her role, and that’s where she could come in and make a difference.”
12 Nikki Davis Redshirt sophomore
Lexington, Ky.

Inside the numbers: Played in all 30 games, with 19 starts, as a freshman at Alabama during the 2006-07 season … Averaged 5.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.6 steals per game … Tied her career-high with 16 points and set the Alabama freshman record with 11 assists against Birmingham Southern.
Analyzing Davis’ game: Davis is a transfer from Alabama who won’t be able to play in a game until December 19th due to NCAA transfer rules, but she has been practicing with the team since last winter when she came to Tech for the spring semester. Dunkenberger compares her to former Hokie Lisa Witherspoon, and she doesn’t lack experience, as she started nearly two-thirds of her games as a freshman against some of the best talent in the SEC.
Quick comments: “I think Nikki really complements Laura Haskins at the point,” Dunkenberger said. “They’re very different. Nikki is a quick, little sparkplug who really pushes the tempo. She can score in a number of ways, but her energy will lift our team every time she’s on the court.”

23 Brittany Gordon Sophomore
Howard County, Md.

Inside the numbers: Appeared in just 10 games last year, playing 51 minutes … Struggled percentage-wise, going 6-of-19 from the floor and 5-of-15 from the line to tally 17 total points … Grabbed 14 rebounds and blocked four shots.
Analyzing Gordon’s game: According to Dunkenberger, center is arguably the hardest position to adjust to as a freshman because big players can dominate in high school based on their size alone, but the playing field is evened in college at the highest level. Gordon spent the past year making that adjustment, and one could almost see her mind racing when she got into games as a rookie. She possesses natural athleticism for her size, however, and she is at the top of the list to eat the minutes vacated by the departed Eleanor Brentnall.
Quick comments: “She spent a year learning concepts like how to post up, how to pin and seal, and how to play post defense,” Dunkenberger said. “She really grew over the course of the year as far as how much more she understands the game. We’re trying to simplify things for her and show her where she can be a difference maker on the court, and she’s been very responsive. I’m excited for her. She did a great job last year of coming in here and getting in great shape, and now I think she’s starting to see it all come together.”
30 Shani Grey Redshirt sophomore
Windsor, Conn.

Inside the numbers: Appeared in 26 games last season, playing 9.1 minutes per contest … Averaged 1.7 points and 1.1 rebounds per game, while dishing out nine assists … Shot just 32.5 percent from the field, but hit 18 of her 22 free-throw attempts for a success rate of 81.8 percent … Made 14 steals on the defensive end.
Analyzing Grey’s game: Grey doesn’t do a whole lot with the ball, but she sure brings it on defense, and that’s what the Hokies want her to continue. An absolute terror on the opposing ball-handler and in the full-court press, Grey is put into the game to ignite the defense, and when healthy, that’s exactly what she does. She’s had bad luck with her knees, though, as she sat out her first year with a torn patellar tendon in her right knee, and then she partially tore the patellar tendon in her left knee during a workout in May. Her rehab is going well, but the team is still unsure as to exactly when she’ll be ready to go.
Quick comments: “[Her knee] is progressing at a far more rapid pace than we had anticipated,” Dunkenberger said. “Her speed and her defensive quickness are a big part of her game, so it’s good to see that coming back.
33 Shanel Harrison Freshman
Olney, Md.

Inside the numbers: Averaged 16.8 points and 8.4 rebounds per game during her senior season at Good Counsel High School … Ranked No. 63 in the ESPN HoopGurlz Hundred for the 2008 class and No. 18 at the guard position … Named the 2007-08 Washington Catholic Association Conference (WCAC) Player of the Year and was a first-team All-Met selection by The Washington Post … Earned WCAC all-league honors all four years … Scored 1,400 career points, with 789 rebounds, 246 assists and 244 blocks.
Analyzing Harrison’s game: Harrison is a big guard who will probably play mostly at the 2 and 3 positions, and maybe even the 4 at times. She is a capable scorer who could provide a Barbour-like presence while Barbour is out allowing her shoulder to heal. Those two together, combined with Cook, could present a pick-your-poison scoring trio for opponents to guard.
Quick comments: “Shanel is a big guard who can score in a number of ways,” Dunkenberger said. “She’s very strong and very aggressive to the basket. To me, she is a difference maker on the court with her ability to make plays. It’s that simple. She’s very similar to Kat [Barbour] in that respect.”

3 Brittany Lewis Freshman
Orange Park, Fla.

Inside the numbers: Averaged 13.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.6 steals and one block during her senior season Fleming Island High School … Holds the school career record for points (705) and blocks (29) … Set the school standard with 29 blocks during her junior season … Was a three-time member of the All-St. John’s River Athletic Conference team … Was named to the Jacksonville Times-Union all-area team.
Analyzing Lewis’ game: Lewis is a long and lanky forward who will probably see more time inside because of the Hokies’ lack of post depth, but she definitely has the ability to step out and stretch the defense. If you’re looking for a not-too-former Hokie to compare her game to, Dunkenberger said she’s a Kerri Gardin-type of player – a more athletic forward as opposed to a true low-block forward.
Quick comments: “Brittany is a very athletic forward who can play not only with her back to the basket, but also facing the basket,” Dunkenberger said. “She has very good 3-point range for a 6-foot-2 player and she has some very natural instincts around the basket. She’s got a lot to learn, but she’s very talented.”