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2021 Lady Bobcat Season Preview

Coming off a shortened season in 2020-21, the Lady Bobcats are poised and ready for another solid campaign in 2021-22.Finishing 8-2 with an A.I.I. Conference Championship the Lady Cats once again qualified for the NAIA National Basketball Championship. With the bulk of their production returning with a core group of seniors, the Lady Cats look to continue their legacy as one of the top programs in the country.

Becky Mullis, in her ninth season at the helm, has built a solid roster and looks to continue the Lady Cat tradition of excellence in 2021-22.

With a good mix of youth and experience this season, the Lady Cats return a host of senior leaders. Annie Noah (Gainesville, Mo.), has started every game the last two seasons and was named NAIA All-American - Honorable Mention, A.I.I. First Team All-Conference, and NCCAA Scholar Athlete last season. Her 11.3 points per game and 7.6 rebounds per game presented a strong inside challenge for Lady Cat opponents. With a soft touch around the basket and high basketball IQ, Noah will once again be counted on as a presence in the paint. Grace Steiger (Cuba, MO) continues to be an inside presence for the Lady Cats. Playing in every game the past two seasons, Steiger looks to give the Lady Cats a balance of solid post play to compliment the strong backcourt. Her accuracy in the paint (49.1% FG), her shot blocking ability, and her rebounding strength make her a triple threat for the Lady Cats. Jordan Wersinger (Springfield, Mo.-Kickapoo HS) emerged as a leader in the 2020-21 campaign. Her 17.6 points, and five rebounds per game was complimented by her 91% Free Throw percentage. Her strong performance garnered her A.I.I. All-Conference, NCCAA All-Region 1st Team, NCCAA All-American 3rd Team, NAIA All-American 3rd Team, NCCAA Academic All-American, and NAIA Academic All-American honors. Kyra Hardesty, (Washington, Mo.) a true point guard, guided the Lady Cat offense while adding 7.9 points per game in 2020-21. She was second on the team in assists and received A.I.I. All-Conference honors a year ago. She is a solid leader on the court who brings an ability to score from long range and distribute the ball to her teammates. Michelle Gabani (Bolivar, Mo.) provides consistency to the Lady Cat line-up and started all 10 games in 2020-21. Averaging 4.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, Gabani is smart, a solid defender, and adds depth on both ends of the court.

The Lady Cats return one junior from the 2020-2021 campaign. Kayley Frank (Strafford, MO) is a strong, physical presence, who can score in a variety of ways. She plays multiple offensive and defensive positions and can handle a variety of match-up assignments. Starting in all 10 games in the shortened 2020-21 season, Frank poured in 11 points per game to go with her 6.3 rebounds. She will look to continue her upward trend and help share the leadership role in 2021-22.

The Lady Cat roster features three sophomores in 2021-22.Katie Mayes (Ozark, MO) is a tough player inside who plays bigger than her 5’10 frame. Smart and competitive she has great passing ability from the post. Playing valuable minutes in all 10 games a year ago, Mayes scored 6.1 points per game and grabbed 5.5 rebounds.She will look to build on those numbers and continue to be a solid contributor on both ends of the floor. Stevi Jones is a 5’6 guard coming off a tremendous career at Chadwick, MO. With limited action in 2020-21, Jones will add another outside scoring threat for the Lady Cats. Rounding out the sophomore trio is Cameran Martin (Centerview, MO). Martin joins the Lady Cats after having spent one season at Three Rivers College where her team made a run to the Final Four. Her athleticism and work ethic will be an asset for the Lady Cats.

Four freshmen join the Lady Cats for 2021-22. Haley Comegys (Pleasant Hill, MO), a 5’9 guard, brings added size at the guard position. The energy she brings to the court will be a key contribution as she gets acclimated to the college game. Jada Henry (Mansfield, MO) is a 5’10 guard who brings loads of athleticism and a smooth stroke from three. She will be a player to watch as she gains strength and grows into the college game. Dani Kerns, the 5’11 Osage City Kansas product will add depth in the paint for the Lady Cats. Her solid work ethic will fit in nicely with a hard-working Lady Cat squad. Rounding out the newcomers is Blythe Benefield (Paragould, AR).Benefield is a 5’11 Forward who is a savvy player. She looks to make an immediate impact for the Lady Cats as a strong and long addition and a smart and excellent defender.

As to strengths, Coach Mullis says, “I’m excited about the leadership our upperclassmen will provide for this talented group of newcomers. They know what it takes to compete at a high level and continue the tradition that we have established for Lady Cat Basketball. Year in and year out we plan to compete for a national title and this group is excited to continue that mission in 2021-22.”

The balance of youth and experience on this year’s team will create a great learning and growing atmosphere where every player will be looked to for valuable contributions. As the tradition of Lady Cat excellence continues, look for great things to come from this group in 2021-2022.