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Youthful Archers Ready to Tip Off 2011-12 Campaign

November 16, 2011

Shonnisha David  
Shonnisha Davis

When the St. Louis Community College women’s basketball team opens its season tonight againt the Webster University junior varsity squad at Forest Park, it will have a distinctly different look from the one Shelly Ethridge coached last year.

Ethridge’s sophomore-laden squad at Meramec made an appearance in the 2011 NJCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament. With the consolidation into a districtwide team this season, the 2011-12 version is much more youthful.

All 14 members of this year’s team are new to Ethridge, including 12 freshmen and a transfer.

Sophomore Shonnisha Davis (Normandy) is the only player with STLCC connections. She attended Florissant Valley last year and did not play for Ethridge.

The game tips off at 5:30 p.m.

“It’s going back to the basics,” assistant coach Melanie Marcy said of the coaching staff having to adjust to such a young team. “Everyone is new to the program. It gives you an opportunity to go back to the drawing board and teach these kids from the ground up.”

As Ethridge and Marcy work to ready their team for the grind of a regular season, they’ve aligned their schedule to allow for plenty of time for adjustments early.

Two weeks have passed since the Archers held their preseason scrimmage against McKendree University. With the relative inexperience of the group, the two weeks off has provided valuable time for teaching.

“Scrimmages are great because you can see the good and the bad,” Marcy said. “The two weeks in between our last (exhibition) game and our first (regular season) game is a good thing. We get a lot more time to see what needs to be fine-tuned.”

Many roles within the team remain undefined at such an early point in the year. Freshman guard Cierra Gaines (Edwardsville) was impressive in the team’s scrimmage, and should see plenty of time on the floor this year. Gaines will be joined in the backcourt, among others, by freshmen Kirstie Owen (Salem, Ill.) and Shakaunna “Nay-Nay” Futrell (Hazelwood West).

The Archers’ post presence will be provided by 6-0 freshmen Paige Laird (Wesclin) and Lena Alpough (Cuba, Mo.) as well as 5-11 Joanessa Fequiere (Winterhaven, Fla.) and 5-10 Lauren Maclin (Ladue).

Though the team’s youth positions the Archers well for success beyond this season, Marcy believes STLCC can make an impact right away.

“By looking at our roster, we could be good next year, but our hope is by midseason to be as sharp as we can be so we can do some damage in the postseason,” Marcy said. “We know it’s not something that comes easily. They say they’re ready for the challenge. We just need to get them battle-ready.”