The Tabor College women’s basketball team welcomes a new coach, a new philosophy and many new players this season, hoping to find the formula for success.
Coach Shawn Reed is new to Tabor but not new to the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference. He was an assistant at Sterling College for 13 to 14 years previously. He returns after a five-year hiatus from coaching.
“I really feel like God has called me back into coaching, so I’m excited about that,” Reed said. “It’s good to be back, but we have a lot of work to do at Tabor.”
A huge part of the job will be acclimating Tabor’s 12 new players to the game plan.
“There’s so many new people, and a new coach,” Reed said. “It’s an adjustment and they’re doing pretty well with that.”
Reed added two late junior college signees from Phoenix College: junior guard Tamara Lio and junior center My-Chal Duncan. Reed said he hoped the 6-foot, 3-inch Duncan could help improve Tabor’s rebounding, which was an issue last year.
Through the team’s first eight games (2-6), Duncan is leading the team with 6.5 rebounds per game while averaging 6.3 points. Lio is averaging 5.4 points and leads the team with 20 assists.
Several freshman are likely to play, including Kendra Flaming, a guard from Goessel, Taylor Dinges, a forward from Thomas More Prep in Hays, and Becky Bryan, a guard/forward from Oklahoma.
So far Bryan has made the biggest contribution, averaging 4.6 points and almost two rebounds per contest.
“Bryan didn’t start for the team, but they had three players go Division I, so it’s hard when you have that on your team,” Reed said. “She’s probably a bit better than it appears.”
Despite all the new faces, Reed said the team could use more players.
“We don’t have the numbers I think the program needs to be successful,” he said. “We already have some injuries, so we have a lot of mountains to climb.”
Reed said the newcomers are working hard, are coachable and are coming with a good attitude, which he appreciates.
Key to helping the newbies transition is the return of veterans Katlyn Mary and Tynan Honn. Honn was an All-KCAC honorable-mention post player last year.
“She’s a very strong post player, a great kid, and probably the spiritual leader of our team,” Reed said.
Honn leads the team in scoring so far this season at 11.8 points a game while Mary is right behind at 11.1. Honn is averaging 5.5 rebounds and Mary 4.1.
Mary was a transfer last year.
Tabor also returns Whitney (Polosky) Frise, but she tore her ACL at the end of last season and is not expected to play for the Bluejays until after Christmas.
Tabor also returns junior Lindsey Radic and sophomores Brittany Shaklee and Hannah Paust.
A big loss for the Bluejays is sophomore guard Jocelyn Cook, who transferred this year and started 23 games last season.
Though eager for success, Reed is patiently rebuilding the women’s program.
“When I?took the job last year I asked what things needed to change, and to a person they said, ‘We need to work harder,” and I said, ‘We can do that,’” Reed said. “I think we’ve done a lot more pre-season conditioning than we have before. I’ve tried to push them harder.
“We’re spending a lot of time on fundamentals, and they seem to be receptive to that.”
Though working hard and fundamentals is not a quick fix, as evidenced by the Bluejays’ lackluster 2-6 start, Reed said the team has taken steps forward and continues to improve.
“We’re just going to try to work hard every day and work on fundamentals,” he said. “We’re just going to try to get better every day.”