Last season: 21-1, 14-0 DAC, lost in sectional semifinal to Michigan City
Inside the Pirates
Leading returning scorer: Victoria Gaines, 15.8 ppg
Leading returning rebounder: Victoria Gaines, 7.0 rpg
Star power: Dariyan Morris, Sr., G. Morris has a talent for finding and creating ways to get the ball to the basket and she's powerful from beyond the arch.
Newcomer to watch: Jaz Talley, So., G/F. The youngster brings athleticism and the ability to rebound. When she finds an aggressive streak, she'll be tough to stop.
Pirates in search of late-breaking guard
Merrillville graduated Indiana All-Star Raveen Murray, and finding the go-to scorer late in a game becomes the biggest question heading into the season. "Last year, we knew where we wanted the ball at the end of the game," coach Amy Govert said. "We have a lot of capable players, but we just need to figure out who will take charge. Right now, they're feeling each other out and they need to figure it out quickly." Tall, athletic Victoria Gaines brings back an inside presence with the power to be an outside threat. Recovering from an ACL injury she suffered in the sectional semifinal, the Pirates worked over the summer without Gaines, learning that they can still succeed even with their tallest player on the bench. Senior Dariyan Morris is capable of taking over the quick-guard expectations that have helped define the Pirates. Merrillville ran an undefeated regular season last year, something that will be difficult to duplicate in the final year of DAC double-round robin play. "We want everyone to step up as a team and help each other out," Gaines said. "We need everyone to play hard every singe game." !~ Hillary Smith