ULM Girls’s Basketball 2022-23 Season Preview

October 9, 2022

By ULMWarhawks.com On-line Columnist Paul Letlow

The ULM girls’s basketball staff had simply completed one other preseason follow with a spirited scrimmage when head coach Brooks Donald Williams noticed a customer watching the motion.

Earlier than the gamers took off, the fourth-year coach inspired every one in all them to stroll over to introduce themselves to the onlooker and supply thanks for stopping by.

Whereas the win-loss document will at all times be part of evaluating a staff, welcoming gestures like that second showcase the large image classes and team-building ideas being taught inside this system.

“I believe it is so big,” Williams stated. “Whether or not you are going right into a program that is already established or one which’s been down for a very long time, I believe the way you construct the staff off the courtroom actually interprets. I do not know that we have had the chance but to see these rewards as a result of we have had some massive challenges with accidents and whatnot – coming in and turning over a program throughout COVID.

“If we might are available a yr earlier or possibly a yr later, possibly we might have been a little bit higher. However I would not commerce what we do off the courtroom. I believe it is vital to constructing any kind of chemistry and tradition. I am an enormous believer and I’ve seen the fruits of that labor repay in earlier applications.”

Bouncing again from a 4-25 season with an 0-14 Solar Belt document, the 2022-23 roster options an attention-grabbing mixture of returning gamers supplemented with seven newcomers. There’s spectacular dimension, depth, improved quickness and scoring punch – and the hope that ULM basketball is able to pattern upward after just a few robust seasons.

“My hope is that we’re much more aggressive than we have ever been capable of be,” Williams stated. “We have been plagued with accidents and small numbers, so we’ve not been capable of play the sooner tempo and extra aggressive defensively like we have wished to.

“We have now the personnel now. We have been affected person attempting to get that personnel in and wholesome. We’re enthusiastic about with the ability to push the ball and get some simple factors and fast offense, and likewise create some offense from our protection.”

ULM returns 4 of its high six scorers in Diamond Brooks, Bre Sutton, Amaya Ford and Katlyn Manuel, two of the highest 4 rebounders in Brooks and Manuel and 4 sophomores who averaged 14 or extra minutes as freshmen in Sutton, Ford and Aasia Sam.

The brand new additions ought to make a noticeable influence too.

From the junior school ranks, ULM signed level guard Olivia “Little Bit” Knight (11 ppg., 5.0 apg.) from Jones Faculty and guard Amani Brown from Western Nebraska. Freshmen Sh’Miya Butler, from West Monroe, and Class 3A Participant of the Yr Myca Path, from St. Louis Catholic Excessive Faculty, are in camp and starting their collegiate careers this season.

Amani Brown is a newcomer from Western Nebraska and was an All-American at Vincennes,” Williams stated. “She will put up some factors. She’s a excessive quantity scorer and may rating in 3 ways. She’s one other shooter that we have not likely ever had since I have been right here. I am excited to see how she interprets to this degree and I believe she’s going to be a pleasant participant for us.”

Brown helped lead Western Nebraska to a 30-3 document and a third-place end on the NJCAA Event. She scored double figures in 18 video games with three outbursts of greater than 20 factors. She averaged 17.9 factors as a sophomore at Vincennes.

Williams likes the best way her level guards Knight and Sutton (6.1 ppg., 2.2 apg.) complement one another’s types. Sutton has scoring punch and passing potential whereas Knight is extra skilled and runs the present with authority.

“I believe Olivia Knight is a distinction maker together with her communication and the best way she instructions the ground,” Williams stated. “I believe she’s helped Bre Sutton. We have not likely had depth at level guard. We have had a child or two get harm at that place yearly.”

A 6-foot-5 heart who strikes properly, Emma Merriweather started her profession at Lengthy Seaside State. As a freshman, she performed in 31 video games with 19 begins whereas averaging 8.6 factors and 6.4 rebounds. After transferring and redshirting at Texas Tech, Merriweather performed two seasons at Kansas, averaging 10.6 minutes per recreation as a red-shirt sophomore in 2019-20. Merriweather had a season-high 10 factors versus the Pink Raiders and grabbed eight rebounds in opposition to Oklahoma State.

She performed in seven video games as a red-shirt junior in 2020-21, averaging eight minutes per recreation. She had season-highs with six factors and 10 rebounds at TCU.

“Clearly, she’s received expertise within the Huge 12 below her belt,” Williams stated. “She’s received a ton of expertise, and he or she’s an enormous physique that we’ve not had. She offers us some peak within the submit right here that we’ve not had and I actually have not had in a very long time.”

Manuel (4.7 ppg., 4.8 rpg.) logged worthwhile minutes at energy ahead as a freshman and is seeking to construct on that have.

“Kate’s received some potential that we’ve not seen but,” Williams stated. “With a yr below her belt, she’s gotten stronger and extra assured. She’s capable of go by some people on the 4 and do some good issues on the offensive finish. I am assured Kate can develop into a very nice defender for us as we develop into an increasing number of aggressive.”

Granted a medical hardship waiver, Brooks returns for her sixth season after struggling an Achilles harm within the 2021-22 season opener. At ULM, Brooks has scored double figures in 20 video games, pulled down double-digit rebounds 4 occasions, led the Warhawks in scoring in seven outings, led in steals 19 occasions and led in rebounding in addition to blocks 21 occasions.

“I believe it is big to get the additional yr for Diamond,” Williams stated. “We have now some youth that has nice expertise. However Diamond has watched the transformation. We perceive that hasn’t proven within the document books or the scoreboard, however Diamond has watched a cultural transformation.”

Gamers on the comeback path embrace Kierra Brimzy, who was a Preseason All-Solar Belt Second-Group choice getting into final yr. Brimzy averaged 13.7 factors in 2020-21 however missed the primary month final season as a result of an harm.

Junior Gara Beth Self loved a breakout freshman season however noticed her progress hindered by ankle and different accidents. Williams is lastly seeing flashes once more from the previous Solar Belt Convention Freshman of the Yr.

“It has been thrilling watching her acquire her confidence again and get her actions again like they had been two years in the past,” Williams stated.

Placing the staff by its paces this preseason, Williams is lastly seeing inner management being cultivated among the many gamers.

 It is a signal to her that issues are coming collectively.

“Practices proper now are actually fulfilling,” Williams stated. “I do not know that I may say {that a} yr in the past or two years in the past. We have got good individuals on this program proper now and I believe we may do one thing particular with some actually good individuals.”

Followers will not have to attend lengthy to see the staff in motion. ULM opens the season with four-straight residence video games in November with the season opener on Monday, Nov. 7 in opposition to Louisiana Christian at 6:30 p.m.


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