By Dave Wagner
PORTALES — A group of Division II South Central Region women’s basketball players coached by Eastern New Mexico University’s Dan Buzard swept five games on a trip to Barbados late last month, although the competition wasn’t what the team had hoped to see.
With the tiny West Indies island involved in a national tournament, many of the players the squad faced were younger than expected — mostly in the high school age range.
“It was nothing like I thought it’d be, basketball-wise,” said ENMU junior point guard Laci Lee, who represented the Zias on the seven-player roster. “We played outside a couple of times, but it was neat. It was good to see how other girls play and how they perceive basketball.”
Besides Lee, four of the players were from Angelo State and two were from St. Mary’s (Texas). ASU’s Kami Williamson, who graduated in May, was selected the most valuable player in the event.
Buzard said Lee had a good week, although she had to adapt to some quick travel calls by the officials.
“It took her a little time to adjust,” Buzard said. “They called her for walks every time she didn’t put the ball on the floor before she took her first step, but once she adjusted she played well.”
Lee said the closest game was about 60 points.
The games were played outside the West Indies capital of Bridgetown, in St. Lawrence. Lee said the team spent one day in the shops in Bridgetown.
“From our hotel, we could just walk up and down the street into shops,” she said, adding that the players usually wore their bathing suits under their basketball gear and headed for the beach after games.
Buzard, who signed five players during the spring, is in College Station this weekend looking at Texas prospects in a summer shootout at Texas A&M and A&M Community High School. He said he may still try to sign a player or two.
“It’s a chance to see a lot of really good Texas players,” he said. “And there are some younger players you can get a look at for the future.”
Maguire adds players — With a roster hard-hit by graduation, ENMU volleyball coach Mike Maguire has signed five prospects for the coming season.
Three are junior college transfers — Kelly McGinty of Whatcom Community College (Wash.) and Ana Bellum and Jessie Weeks of Garden City (Kan.), all of whom will be juniors. McGinty and Bellum are outside hitters, while Weeks is a defensive specialist.
The others are freshmen middle blockers — Grace George, who is from Hawaii, and Jennifer Luttrell, from Austin, Texas.
Maguire, entering his 16th season as volleyball coach and the third with his dual role as ENMU’s athletic director, said he hopes to add a setter and a middle blocker or possibly a combination middle blocker-outside hitter. Only senior outside hitter Anya Mack and senior setter Margie Goble return among the Zias’ regulars.
“We have a lot of young players, but we have some good experience coming in from the JCs,” Maguire said. “It should make for an interesting year.”