The 2011-12 season for the Freed-Hardeman Lady Lion basketball team was one of epic highs and painful lows.
Among the highs were an 18 game winning streak early in the season and the school’s first-ever No. 1 national ranking. But the season ended with a pair of bitter disappointments with losses to Union (Tenn.) University in the TranSouth Conference championship game and to Avila (Mo.) University in the national tournament. NAIA Pre-Season polls put the Lady Lions at number 13.
Leading the charge in 2012-13 will be seniors Natalie Shumpert and Maria Bagwell. Shumpert was named the TranSouth Conference Player of the Year and a first team NAIA All-American after averaging 16.7 points per game. Bagwell was a first-team all-conference selection and a third team NAIA All-American, averaging 10.3 points and 10.8 rebounds per game.
Ashley Tate started all 34 games at point guard last season. The senior, who transferred from Tennessee State University, should be more productive in her final season. Shumpert, Bagwell, and Tate have all been named Pre-Season All-Conference by TranSouth coaches.
Four freshmen saw significant minutes last season and all have shown marked improvement coming into their sophomore campaigns. Post players Amber Alexander and Hayley Newby made major contributions last season as did guard Layce Colter, whose season was cut short by injury. Grace Alonso de Armino presents matchup problems for opponents with her size (5’11”) and ability to play both post and perimeter.
Juniors Cynthia Woodward, Brittany Montgomery and Shelby Taylor, along with redshirt freshmen Kenley Crowell and Chynna Helton, will all vie for time in the back court. Senior Summer Waggoner and sophomore Tish Baugus add depth at the post.
Only two newcomers are on this year’s roster, Christa Brown (Batesville, Miss.), and Dee Dee Jones (Henderson, Tenn.). Brown was among the nation’s leading high school scorers last year, averaging 29.3 points per game and is expected to be able to play in late December. Jones is a local product from Chester County High School, where she scored more than 1,000 career points.