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Vincennes University preparing for upcoming women's basketball season

VINCENNES, Ind. - Three double-figure scorers return for a Vincennes University women’s basketball team that finished with a sparkling 23-8 mark last season, but it’s a lack of depth that’s giving veteran coach Harry Meeks the most concern as a new season approaches.

Sophomores Fess Hawkins (Bartonville, Ala.), Jaynice Stovall (Covington, Ky.) and Jhala Henry (Jeffersonville, Ind.) are all penciled into the starting lineup after scoring at least 10.8 points an outing in the 2018-19 season.

However, another returning starter, sophomore Reeva Hammelman (Edwardsport, Ind.) went down with a knee injury late in the preseason. She’ll miss the entire campaign after averaging 8.9 points per outing a year ago. As a result, the team was practicing for the season-opening State Fair Community College Classic in Sedalia, Missouri on Nov. 1-2 with just nine players.

“We’re basically down to nine or 10 players. There’s nothing we can do about it,” Meeks said. “But this group is tough. Mentally, they’re really tough. That’s the kind of team you need to handle a situation like this.”

Hawkins, a 6-3 sophomore is a do-everything type for the Lady Trailblazers, after contributing 13.0 points and 10.3 rebounds a game in the post for the team last season.

“We’re a good rebounding team and she leads the way,” Meeks said. “She’s likely to pull down 17 or 20 rebounds on a given night.”

Stovall, a 5-5 redshirt sophomore who returns at point guard, clicked for 12.8 points and 3.8 assists while starting all 31 games last season. Henry, a 5-7 sophomore, started 30 games last season, averaging 10.8 points an outing and will play a wing spot

Another sophomore, 6-3 Grace Yocum (Frankfort, Ky.) will play close to the basket, while 5-10 freshman Elena Aznar Chamorro (Zaragoza, Spain) will start at point guard, with help from 5-10 freshman Gara Jorge Garcia (Galdar, Spain).

All of those who don’t start will see extensive minutes. That includes 5-7 sophomore Jocelyn Thompson (Houston, Tex.), who played in 26 games last season, 5-6 freshman Amani Brown (Terre Haute, Ind.), 6-0 freshman Anete Bluma (Saldus, Latvia) and 6-5 freshman Ndeye Codu Ndour (Somone, Senegal).

Another freshman, 6-3 Macy Michels (Teutopolis, Ill.) is currently a member of the school’s volleyball team, and won’t be available immediately.

“We’re trying to learn together and work in six first-year players,” Meeks said. “I think the leadership from our sophomores is going to have to carry us, although the freshmen are playing really hard in practice. That’s one thing I can say about this squad. They seem to practice hard and want to win.”

Meeks says it’ll be a successful season if his team reaches the NJCAA Division I finals, in Lubbock, Texas. The Lady Trailblazers failed to win the region crown a year ago, and despite playing one of the toughest schedules in the nation, were not awarded an at-large berth. Meeks noted that six of his team’s losses a year ago came against a team that was ranked No. 1 in the nation at the time.

“I saw all those games (in the finals) and I know my team was better than half the field,” said Meeks, who also serves the university as athletic director. “We got no credit for the schedule we played.”

After opening the season in the State Fair Tournament, VU will travel to Panama City, Florida for the Gulf Coast State College Classic Nov. 8-9. The Blazers’ first home game is on Nov.12 at 7 p.m. in the P.E. Complex against Brescia University out of Owensboro, Ky.

2019-20 Vincennes University Women’s Basketball Roster

2019-20 Vincennes University Women’s Basketball Schedule

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Vincennes University Newsroom
Vincennes University Trailblazer Athletics

MARCIA MARTINEZ, Sports Information Director & University Life Reporter

   812-888-4162 office, 812-887-4635 cell, VUNews@vinu.edu, mmartinez@vinu.edu

VINCENNES UNIVERSITY, Department of University Relations, www.vinu.edu/newsroom

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