Fans will see eight new athletes playing for the Drover women during the upcoming 2011-12 basketball season.

With the addition of the new recruits, Coach Laci Tompkins is excited to see what team will have to offer in the coming years.

“We got some great transfer students, and we expect big things out of our team this year,” Tompkins said. “We are a lot more physical and athletic and I’m very excited about the group that will be coming in.”

Practicing with the team since winter break, Liberty Payne will make her USAO debut in November after sitting out a semester following transfer student eligibility guidelines. Tompkins expects Payne and recruits Takoia Larry, from Odessa College, and Alaria Waddle, from Arkansas Baptist College, to make an immediate impact on the team.

Another major playmaker will be Marissa Medrano, a 6-foot-4 recruit from Eastern Oklahoma State College who is spending the summer playing for the Mexican national team.

“She will be one of our taller girls and will make us more physical and athletic,” Tompkins said.

Along those players, two of USAO’s transfers are from the Oklahoma area. Lauren Campo and Natalie Colton will join USAO directly from from Cameron and Southwestern Oklahoma State universities respectively.

Another strong recruit was the leading scorer at Arkansas Baptist College last year. Sharnice Reed averaged 15 points and five rebounds a game at the junior college.

The Drovers’ only new player straight out of high school is Kristen Meyer, from Okarche High School. Tompkins said has confidence in the true freshman and the rest of the team both on the court and in the classroom.

“I think as a whole we hope that they can make a good transition with their grades,” Tompkins said. “A lot of our players are going to be taking classes that will make it hard to schedule practices, but our main focus will be on the academic side of things so these students will do well in their classes.”

The Drovers will see one more new face when the season starts: a new assistant coach. Tompkins is finalizing hiring with a new coach this month after coach Carey Phariss took an assistant position at Northwestern Oklahoma State in Alva.


Published: Aug. 17, 2011