Ben­ton

The Saline Courier - - COMICS -

go­ing to be con­sis­tent and step up. There are a lot of role changes.”

So a lot will be ex­pected from se­nior Emily Hop­per, who av­er­aged 2.1 points per game in limited min­utes last year, to say the least.

“We’re ex­pect­ing a lot out of those,” Chum­ley said of play­ers get­ting lit­tle play­ing time last year. “Hop­per has de­vel­oped probably into the best shooter on the team. She needs to be a SCORER. We’re not ask­ing her to play a small role any­more.

Her role needs to be huge, scor­ing and re­bound­ing. Tues­day Mel­ton, the ju­nior, she has showed in prac­tice she can take that role, too. We just need every­body to chime in.

“Cayla Clay­ton (se­nior) is fight­ing through a back in­jury and has played at a high level at times. Jor­dan Miller, another ju­nior probably go­ing to start for us, is probably the best ath­lete on the team. They’ve played small roles, so they’re go­ing to have to re­ally ex­pand and grow as play­ers this year.”

Chum­ley went on say­ing that ev­ery­one on the ros­ter has a chance to play this sea­son.

“Bis­sette Childress right out of the gate is go­ing to have to step up,” he said. “I think she can score more than she thinks she can. She’ll have to change her men­tal­ity a lit­tle bit and not be just a point guard, but a scor­ing point guard.

“Rae­gan Swin­dle, Jenna Wright, and probably the hard­est worker on the team by far is Kather­ine Sim­mons. Kather­ine works so hard and makes de­fen­sive plays, re­bound­ing-wise, keeps balls alive for us, so she will earn some play­ing time just be­cause of how hard she works. In a year like this when you’re try­ing to put pieces to­gether, she can be some of that glue be­cause of her ef­fort.

“They all have a chance to play, every­body. Then you have another sopho­more, Ava Har­ris, she’s as tough as they come. Makaila Kutchka can shoot the bas­ket­ball. Ev­ery sin­gle one of them have a chance to play. Lauren How­ell is another se­nior who has worked hard. She’s one of the bet­ter lead­ers on the team. We just have to put the pieces to­gether and find seven or eight that can be com­pat­i­ble and get done what we need to get done.”

Chum­ley also ex­pects cur­rently injured se­nior Lexie New­man and sopho­more Sara­beth Bos­tian to con­trib­ute im­me­di­ately once healed.

Known for de­fense dur­ing Chum­ley’s coach­ing ten­ure, the Lady Pan­thers will no doubt have to lean on de­fense this sea­son.

“Probably even more than ever be­cause we’re go­ing to re­ally strug­gle of­fen­sively at times,” he said. “It’s go­ing to put a lot of pres­sure on our de­fense. It’s been a sta­ple. This group hasn’t quite fig­ured that out yet, but as time goes and we get some games un­der our belt, I think they will. They work hard, they’re great kids to be around and we’re hav­ing a lot of good prac­tices.

“It’s go­ing to be trial and er­ror at times. You’re probably go­ing to see a dif­fer­ent start­ing lineup just about ev­ery night for a while. They don’t have a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence and they haven’t won a whole lot in their ca­reers, but this team can com­pete and be some­thing pretty solid by the mid­dle of it.”

The Lady Pan­thers will host the Pine Bluff Fil­lies tonight in Ben­ton Arena for a ben­e­fit game. Ju­nior var­sity tips off at 5 p.m. with var­sity to fol­low.

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