The Wolfpacker

May 2012

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 53 of 79

With 10 returning veterans, led by Kas- tanek, a three-time All-ACC honoree and this year's ACC women's basketball scholar- athlete, plus two highly promising newcom- ers, Harper feels the 2012-13 Pack will have the maturity and game savvy to learn from this year's lapses. "You build a successful program with kids that just love the game, love to watch it on TV and play as much as they can," she said. "We've got a group like that now. I saw several players, all of whom are com- ing back, who paid their own way in to watch the NCAA regional here, and that says a lot about their commitment." "I do feel optimistic about what we have coming. It's been a big challenge the past two years, and there have been a lot of things that haven't made it an easy road. But we have got to be consistent. I've said it before: that's the difference between good teams and great teams — they don't have an off night. And we have to fully commit to the system, whether it's on offense or defense — you can't go out and feel like you can do it all by yourself. It's patience — and that comes with maturity and experience." And, perhaps, a kind scheduler. ■ ■ Newcomers Join Returning Veterans To Bolster Pack's 2012-13 Outlook Junior guard Marissa Kastanek was the Pack's leading scorer in 2011-12 with an average of 12.9 points per game, which ranked 13th in the conference. one of its most prolific scoring and rebounding leaders in program history. With senior forward and four-year starter Bonae Holston graduating, head coach Kellie NC State's women's basketball team will begin next season with the task of replacing Harper must find a way to make up for the loss of 1,624 career points (No. 8 on the Pack's all-time scoring list) and 916 career rebounds (No. 6 on NCSU's all-time rebounding list). Also departing from this year's roster are starting fifth-year senior guard Emili Tasler (4.6 points per game, 3.9 rebounds per game and No. 2 on the team with 53 steals and 105 assists), fifth-year senior forward Tia Bell, and reserve guards Kim Durham and Paige Woodard. The 2012-13 team will be built around three returners PHOTO BY ROB BRADLEY said. "We may end up playing them together if the situation calls for it, or play one or the other at times. The good thing is we have a true backup at the point now, and if they buy into the idea that there's a healthy competition and we have two people to get the job done, it will be good for us. "I think both [Brown and Goodwin-Coleman] will need to play a lot of minutes," Harper Harper's incoming class of 2012 consists of just two recruits, but both are expected to have an immediate impact, she said. Ashley Eli, a 5-11 wing from Mansfield, Texas, is a " who each started 34 games this year: junior guard Marissa Kastanek, the Pack's leading scorer (12.9 points per game, 13th in the conference); sophomore forward Kody Burke (10.5 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, and the team's blocked shot leader with 53); and sophomore point guard Myisha Goodwin-Coleman, the Pack's top three-point scorer this season with 58 made treys in 159 attempts, as well as the team leader in assists (132, 3.8 per game, fourth in the ACC) and steals (73, 2.1 per game, ninth best in the conference). "One thing we have asked all our guards to work on for next year is mid-range jump shots," Harper said. "That was an area we were hurt this year because we had too many shots blocked trying to take them all the way in, and we just can't stand behind the three-point line and fire away. So be- ing able to make mid-range shots will be huge. will be rising sophomore guards Krystal Barrett and Erica Donovan, rising junior guard Breezy Williams, rising redshirt junior forward/center Lakeesa Daniel, and rising sophomore forwards Kiana Evans and Therany Dunnigan. Three newcomers are expected to push that group im- Challenging to fill the holes left by Holston and Tasler " former AAU teammate of Barrett's who helped her Summit High School team to two Texas Class 4A cham- pionships. Harper is impressed with Eli's court sense — and attitude. "She understands the game, she's looking to win, and she'll do whatever that means," Harper said. "She's a hard worker and a great teammate." time in her three years in Raleigh, convincing former Athens Drive High School all-state standout Markeisha Gatling to return to her hometown. Ranked as the No. 1 junior college post player in the Harper also plumbed the junior college ranks for the first country going into the 2011-12 season at Florida Gulf Coast CC in Panama City, Fla., the 6-4 Gatling (who will have two years of eligibility) could be the one missing piece NC State has not had since 6-6 Gillian Goring helped the team to an NCAA regional appearance in 2007: a physical post who can score consistently. Gatling set a North Carolina high school record as a mediately for starting and playing time, Harper said. Len'Nique Brown, a point guard who redshirted this past senior, making 74.1 percent of her shots, and averaged 11.8 points and 9.2 rebounds for Florida Gulf Coast this past season. "There's definitely a lot of opportunity for people to step up and compete for playing time," Harper said. "We down- season, will be eligible after transferring from Southern Cal last year, where she averaged 3.1 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 37 games as a freshman in 2010-11. 54 ■ THE WOLFPACKER The return of 10 players, including three starters, and the addition of a talented group of newcom- ers have head coach Kellie Harper feeling opti- mistic about the future of her program. PHOTO BY ROB BRADLEY — Brian Rapp " play who starts because we play a lot of people a lot of min- utes, so it's important for our players to want to compete for playing time, period. I want them to be out there — and do whatever they need to do to be out there.

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