GARY - With four starters gone from last year's semistate finalist, West
Side isn't getting much respect now.
But that may change late in the season.
"By February, we might be a little better than what people are thinking,"
coach Rodney Fisher said.
There's no doubt how good Rita Harper is. The 6-foot senior forward, who
averaged 10 points and eight rebounds last year, is the only returning regular.
"She really likes to play defense and she likes to bang on the boards," Fisher
"The early part (of the season), we're really going to depend on her to be a
Harper should have some help in that area.
"I think we have some scorers," Fisher said, singling out 5-10 sophomore
forward Latoya Smith and 5-6 senior guard Felicia Dixon. Both averaged about
five points a game last year.
"Neither one of them are afraid to shoot the ball," Fisher said.
Others who figure to see considerable playing time include 5-4 senior Sandra
Bonner and four more sophomores - 5-10 Lisa Bryant, 6-3 Melanice Bardley, 5-9
Carlissa Epperson, 5-2 Chameka McGee and 5-2 Nakia Young.
"We're relying probably on five sophomores to carry us," Fisher said.
The West Side coach expects to be strong on the boards, thanks to Harper.
"Rita is probably one of the best defensive and offensive rebounders I've
had, even better than Danielle (McCulley, who graduated after last season),"
The departure of Kasia McClendon and Cheryl Crozier will bring some changes
to the Lady Cougars' defense.
"I've never had a guard combination like Kasia and Cheryl," Fisher said.
"We're not going to be as good a full-court team (without them)."
* Last year's record: 24-1 (4-0 Northwestern Conference).
* 1993 State Tournament: Lost in Lafayette Semistate finals.
* Players to watch: Senior forward Rita Harper will be one of Northwest
Indiana's dominant post players. Melanice Bardley, a 6-3 sophomore, could
develop into an inside force.
* Key Stat: The Lady Cougars haven't lost a regular-season game since the
* Will be successful if: Young players overcome lack of varsity experience.
* Quoting coach Fisher: We're not going to change our style too much. We're
still going to run.
Bardley, Melanice 6-3 C So.
Bonner, Sandra 5-4 G Sr.
Bryant, Lisa 5-10 F So.
Cole, LeRie 5-4 G Sr.
Davis, Keisha 5-6 F Sr.
Dixon, Felicia 5-6 G Sr.
Dixon, Jzquelyn 5-11 F Fr.
Epperson, Carlissa 5-9 F So.
Epperson, Carolynn 5-8 F Jr.
Harper, Rita 6-0 F Sr.
McGee, Chameka 5-2 G So.
Smith, Latoya 5-10 F So.
Sobomehin, Temilola 5-8 F Jr.
Young, Nakia 5-2 G So.