Veteran Saints Ready to Make Their Mark

#22 Lonna Turner

SF WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

Gainesville, FL – Last season, the Santa Fe Saints women’s basketball program had just two returning players and a plethora of freshman. The results, as expected were a mixed bag, with at times flashes of brilliance followed by the inevitable struggles of a young, inexperienced team.

“I really thought we turned a corner last year with a good wins over Gulf Coast and Chipola, but we just couldn’t overcome our youth,” said SF Coach Chanda Stebbins. “They didn’t pay huge dividends as expected last year but I can really see how this year’s team has grown from those tough experiences and the good wins.”

The nine returning players from last year’s 10-20 team used the experiences and lessons learned in 2011-12 to make huge strides over the offseason and through the preseason. Most of the players may be the same, but fans will see a different Saints squad when they take the floor at home on Thursday against Palm Beach State College at 6:00 PM in the SF Tip-off Classic and again on Friday against Miami-Dade College at 4:00 PM.

“Opening week games are always fun and exciting for both teams,” said Stebbins. “I’m sure Palm Beach and Miami are ready and fired up for their trip to Gainesville, and our young ladies are going to have a good early test.”

Key returners for SF include forward Taybreanna Couch (5.6 ppg. 5.0 rpg), guard Tiara Thompson (8.6 ppg) and local standout from Eastside High School, Lonna Turner (3.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg). Also returning to bolster the Santa Fe lineup are two 6’0” posts from Canada, Lydia Cuff and Shanice Clark. Guards Miracle Watts, Monique Bunk, Raquitta Gooden, Ezra Wallace and Oneisha Davis round out the returners.

Transfers Kaitlynn Pacholke (Jacksonville State) and Paulina Zaveckaite (USC-Upstate) will be expected to make an immediate impact. Zaveckaite started 25 games for NCAA Division I USC-Upstate last season, averaging 6.4 points and 7.9 rebounds per game.

Highly recruited freshman Shaquita Snow (Orange Park) and Jaquasha Sesler (Wildwood) complete the Saints roster.

“I’m so excited about our personnel this year,” Stebbins said. “They have responded to every demand and are really showing their maturity. I like our work ethic on the court and in the classroom. Our maturity is also providing bonuses in the area of team chemistry.”

For complete schedules and more information on Women’s Basketball, please visit www.sfcollege.edu/athletics. To see game photos and other updates, follow Santa Fe College Athletics on Facebook.

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