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October 12, 2009

An in depth look at each player of the women's hoops team

By: Matt Kovatch

Lindsay Biggs #20

Class: Senior
Position: Guard
Height: 5-11
Hometown: Midlothian, Va.

Inside the numbers: Started all 30 games a year ago and averaged 12.5 points per game, which ranked second on the team … Nailed 71 3-pointers, which set the single-season school record and ranked her among the ACC’s leaders … Finished second on the team with 65 assists … Scored in double figures 20 times and set career highs with 25 points and seven treys at No. 12 Maryland.

Analyzing Biggs’ game: Biggs felt pressured to score every night last year and probably suffered in some games because of that, but there were also games when she was unstoppable. In addition to her deadly long-range talents (she needs 70 3-pointers to become Tech’s all-time leader), she showcased a nice mid-range game and a sneaky ability to get to the hoop last year. With a scoring point guard (Davis) and some more offensive threats on the wings, Biggs could thrive in her senior year.

Dunkenberger’s take: “Everybody knows that Lindsay can shoot the 3, but I think it’s her ability to go off the bounce and shoot a 15-foot pull-up, to go all the way to the hole, or to get an offensive board that makes it harder to stop her from the 3-point line. She can score in a number of ways.”

Utahya Drye #15

Class: Senior
Position: Forward
Height: 6-1
Hometown: Durham, N.C.

Inside the numbers: Started all 30 games a year ago and led the team with 14.3 points per game, an average that ranked ninth in the ACC … Also paced the squad with 6.5 rebounds per game, and was second with 48 steals … Shot nearly 47 percent from the field and nearly 74 percent from the free-throw line … Had a career game against USC Upstate, tallying collegiate highs of 30 points, 16 rebounds and seven steals.

Analyzing Drye’s game: Though she didn’t get a nod from the voters, Drye put forth an all-conference effort last season and is one of the most well-rounded players in the league. Drye’s athleticism allows her to run the floor and slash to the basket, but after playing a lot in the post due to team needs, she also knows her way around the low blocks. She is poised for a huge year.

Dunkenberger’s take: “Utahya is all about versatility. She has worked hard to create a little bit more range on her shot, but she can slash to the basket and she understands how to score against bigger players with her back to the basket. She also led us in rebounding, and she’s developed into a good leader for us.”

Lakeisha Logan #24

Class: Senior
Position: Guard
Height: 5-8
Hometown: Scarboro, W. Va.

Inside the numbers: Played in 25 games a year ago, making one start … Averaged 3.4 points per game, finishing second on the squad with 16 3-pointers … Scored in double digits in the first three games of last season, including a career-high 19 points against North Carolina Central.

Analyzing Logan’s game: Logan has the ability to put the ball in the basket and needs to be ready to do so when she’s inserted into the game. She has a beautiful stroke and can hit the 3. She could thrive if she’s put in a position to hit an open shot, or if she gets a chance to play off of a reversal or a pass out of a double team.

Dunkenberger’s take: “Keisha can put points on the board, but she needs to be offensive-minded when she comes into the game. She has great range and great touch off the dribble. She’ll be a zone buster. If we’re in a scoring drought, we need to be able to put her in the game and have her look to score.”

Nikki Davis #12

Class: Redshirt junior
Position: Guard
Height: 5-7
Hometown: Lexington, Ky.

Inside the numbers: After sitting out the first eight games of 2008 to fulfill NCAA transfer requirements, the former Alabama player started 19 of the 22 games in which she played … Finished third on the team with 7.5 points per game and 44 steals, but committed 83 turnovers against 62 assists … Hit only 8-of-50 from 3-point range.

Analyzing Davis’ game: Because senior Laura Haskins was much more comfortable at the point last year, Davis unselfishly played out of position at shooting guard when the two were on the court together. She was able to do so because of her scorer’s mentality, but Dunkenberger says she will strictly be a point guard this year. She can make things happen by getting into the interior, and the coaches trust her with the ball in her hands.

Dunkenberger’s take: “Nikki has worked extremely hard to get the touch on her outside shot and to get some confidence with that. She’s going to have to play through some bad shots to figure out what is good and what isn’t, but I want her thinking ‘attack’ and I want her being aggressive. She is very focused on cutting down on turnovers and bumping up her assist total.”

Shani Grey #30

Class: Redshirt junior
Position: Guard
Height: 5-8
Hometown: Windsor, Conn.

Inside the numbers: Started nine of the 26 games in which she played a year ago, averaging 15.6 minutes per contest … Averaged 3.4 points and 2.7 rebounds per game, while totaling 22 assists and 20 steals … Scored a career-high 17 points against Radford.

Analyzing Grey’s game: Grey has always been a high-energy antagonist on the defensive end and will continue in that role, but she flashed some offensive abilities a season ago. Despite her size, she has a knack for getting offensive rebounds and turning defense into transition offense. She’s the type of player whom you would love to have on your team, but would hate to play against.

Dunkenberger’s take: “Shani is a defensive spark. She is a dose of energy and it is infectious. Our team feeds off of her when she comes in the game, whether they are on the court or on the bench cheering. The fans relate to her and she is fun to watch.”

Elizabeth Basham #42

Class: Junior
Position: Forward
Height: 6-2
Hometown: Abingdon, Va.

Inside the numbers: Averaged just more than 10 minutes played per game a year ago in 25 contests … Scored 31 points on the year and grabbed 29 rebounds … Tallied seven steals and two blocked shots.

Analyzing Basham’s game: Basham played through right shoulder issues all season as a sophomore before eventually having surgery to repair it a week after the season ended. Now back at 100 percent, she should get her shooting percentage closer to the 61 percent it was as a freshman instead of the 31 percent it was last year. Basham is a smart and fundamental player who knows how to free up teammates and play efficiently on defense.

Dunkenberger’s take: “Elizabeth’s game is not flashy, but she knows how to get the job done. She has a great basketball mind. She might not grab 12 rebounds per game, but she knows how to defend, limit people’s shots in the paint and keep her player off the glass. If she can keep a big rebounder off the glass and let Brittany or Utahya pull down a board, she’s done her job well.”

Brittany Gordon #23

Class: Junior
Position: Center
Height: 6-4
Hometown: Howard County, Md.

Inside the numbers: Played in all 30 games a year ago, starting 23 … Averaged 6.5 points and 6.2 rebounds over the course of the season, but those numbers increased to 9.6 and 11.2, respectively, over the final five regular-season games … Finished the regular season ranked 14th in rebounding in ACC games … Shot nearly 45 percent from the field and led the team with 31 blocked shots.

Analyzing Gordon’s game: Gordon probably has the most untapped potential of anyone returning from last year, and it started to show late in the season when she was just shy of averaging a double-double in the final five ACC games. She has shown the ability to alter shots and rebound on the defensive end, and this could be the year that her offensive game gets into gear.

Dunkenberger’s take: “Brittany’s defense grew by leaps and bounds last year, and now I think she is starting to understand offensive concepts like pinning and sealing and creating easier shots for herself. There are things that I have harped on for the past two years to her, and I can see the light bulb going off in her head now.”

Shanel Harrison #33

Class: Sophomore
Position: Guard
Height: 6-0
Hometown: Olney, Md.

Inside the numbers: Started just two games a year ago, but played significant time in all 30 games as the first Hokie off the bench … Was fourth on the team with 6.9 points per game … Pulled down 4.1 rebounds per game … Makes a difference on defense, where she recorded 29 steals and 23 blocks.

Analyzing Harrison’s game: Like Basham, Harrison played through injuries last season before eventually having surgery on her knee in the offseason. She wasn’t fully cleared medically until August, so she is still working her way back into shape, but she has the ability to be a major contributor. She had her good days and her bad days as a freshman, but the good days should become routine as her career progresses.

Dunkenberger’s take: “Shanel possesses strength, size and a physically aggressive game, so it’s hard to stop her and keep her off the glass. She’s a guard who can get a double-double and who can post up somebody smaller, but she has worked a lot on her touch and I see her a lot more confident in her 15-footer and in her 3-pointer.”

Taylor Ayers #32

Class: Freshman
Position: Center
Height: 6-2
Hometown: Augusta, Ga.

Inside the numbers: Averaged 21 points and 14 rebounds per game as a senior at Laney High School … Was named the Region AA player of the year and was a first-team all-state selection … Made the Richmond County all-academic team and the 2008 Myrtle Beach all-tournament team.

Analyzing Ayers’ game: The Hokies have needed help on the boards and that’s where Ayers will be asked to contribute. Though Dunkenberger said that Ayers may not yet be doing things technically correct, that doesn’t matter as much when fighting for the ball. Ayers will be tough, especially once she becomes more well-versed in college post play.

Dunkenberger’s take: “Taylor is a banger who is very physical. She’s just got the knack, kind of like Jeff Allen [from the men’s team]. She’s a little undersized for her position, but she always finds a way to get the ball in the basket.”

Alyssa Fenyn #13

Class: Freshman
Position: Guard
Height: 6-0
Hometown: Newark, N.Y.

Inside the numbers: Led Newark High School to a state title as a senior, tallying 29 points, 10 rebounds and four steals in the championship game … Was a three-time, first-team all-state performer … Was rated the No. 103 prospect nationally by Blue Star Basketball … Was a varsity starter since the eighth grade and holds the school record with 2,499 career points … Was a 2008-09 McDonald’s All-American nominee.

Analyzing Fenyn’s game: Fenyn is an excellent scorer who could very well be an immediate contributor at shooting guard or at small forward. It’s no small praise when your coach compares you to a player who led the ACC in scoring two years ago (Brittany Cook), and that’s what Dunkenberger has done since the moment Fenyn signed with Tech.

Dunkenberger’s take: “Alyssa is a tremendous competitor. All along, I’ve compared her to what Brittany Cook does, and actually, you can compare her a little more to the end of Cook’s career than early on. She’s come in with some great experience from high school and AAU ball. I think she can be a scorer for us right off the bat.”

Porschia Hadley #22

Class: Freshman
Position: Forward/center
Height: 6-3
Hometown: Montezuma, Ga.

Inside the numbers: Averaged 17 points and 14 rebounds per game as a senior at Macon County High School … A four-time, first-team all-state selection, she was rated the No. 52 prospect nationally by Blue Star Basketball … Was a Street & Smith’s Sporting News honorable mention All-American … Grabbed a record-setting 33 rebounds in one game during her junior season.

Analyzing Hadley’s game: Much like Ayers, Hadley was a tremendous rebounder in high school and the Hokies want her to continue that as a freshman. At 6-3, she was simply able to turn and shoot over everyone else in high school, so there will be an adjustment period there. But because she’s so long and lanky, she may be able to score quickly before the defense is ready, much like Brittany Lewis (who transferred out of the program) often did in limited action last year.

Dunkenberger’s take: “Porschia is long and lean with a finesse game and she’s picking things up quickly. She is taller than Taylor, so you’d think she’s be a more natural low block player, but she’s got a nice face-up touch.”

Abby Redick #2

Class: Freshman
Position: Forward
Height: 6-0
Hometown: Roanoke, Va.

Inside the numbers: Scored 1,038 career points for Hidden Valley High School, leading the team to a pair of state titles … Didn’t play as a senior until late in the season, as she was recovering from knee surgery … Was a 2007 Associated Press first-team all-state selection … Played for the 2007 AAU national championship team.

Analyzing Redick’s game: It’s well known that the local product is the sister of former Duke star J.J., but she had another brother who played football at Marshall and two sisters who played basketball at Campbell. Her family’s sports background has obviously rubbed off on her, as Dunkenberger has raved about her knowledge of, and feel for, the game. She could find time on the court right off the bat because of her ability to face the basket as a small forward or to play with her back to the hoop as a power forward.

Dunkenberger’s take: “Abby is one of the most fundamental and versatile players to come to Tech in a long time. She already has a great knowledge of the game and she picks things up very quickly. She’s got a nice outside shooting touch, and she’s one of the best passers we’ve seen in a while.”

Aerial Wilson #3

Class: Freshman
Position: Guard
Height: 5-8
Hometown: Cocoa, Fla.

Inside the numbers: Was named the Florida state 4A player of the year after leading all classes with 31.2 points per game at Rockledge High School … Was second in the state in scoring as a junior, and finished her career with 2,209 career points … Was a finalist for Florida’s Miss Basketball award as a senior, and she led her team to the state title game as a junior.

Analyzing Wilson’s game: Wilson is a dynamic scorer who could see immediate minutes at either of the guard spots. While men’s players at the college level routinely spout off about how they want to play in the NBA, it’s rare to hear a women’s player say the same about playing in the WNBA. But Dunkenberger said that Wilson has made it very well known that’s what her goal is and that’s what she wants to do.

Dunkenberger’s take: “Aerial is one of the best competitors I’ve seen. She’s driven to play in the WNBA and she’s a very focused young lady. She’s probably more of a natural shooting guard, but she’s a very savvy ball handler and we’ll experiment with her at point guard as well. She brings firepower and she can score in a number of different ways.”