2022-23 Lady Bobcat Season Preview
Climbing back to championship form in 2021-22, the Lady Bobcats finished 20-10 and qualified for the NCCAA Championship Tournament. Completing a top-five finish in the tournament, the Lady Bobcats are poised and ready for another solid campaign in 2022-23. With the bulk of their production returning through a core group of upperclassmen, the Lady Cats look to continue their legacy as one of the top programs in the country.
After the departure of three seniors to graduation, Becky Mullis, in her tenth season at the helm, looks to continue the Lady Cat tradition of excellence in 2022-23.
With a mix of youth and experience, the Lady Cats return a host of solid leaders. Annie Noah (Gainesville, Mo.), has developed into a team leader and has been named NAIA All-American-Honorable Mention, A.I.I. First Team All-Conference, and NCCAA Scholar Athlete the past two seasons. Averaging a double-double, her 13.6 points per game and 10.8 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. Jordan Wersinger (Springfield, Mo.-Kickapoo HS) emerged as a leader in the 2020-21 campaign and continued that role in 2021-22. Her 14.0 points per game came off 44% shooting from the field and was complimented by her 81% Free Throw percentage. Her strong performance the past two seasons 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. 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. Frank boosted her scoring numbers in 2021-22 and poured in 15.5 points per game to go with her 5.4 rebounds as she emerged as a leader for the Lady Cats. 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 30 games a year ago, Mayes scored 5.0 points per game and grabbed 4.1 rebounds. She will look to build on those numbers and continue to be a solid contributor on both ends of the floor.
The Lady Cat roster features one junior and a trio of sophomores. Stevi Jones is a 5’6 guard coming off a tremendous career at Chadwick, MO. Her team leading 35% from three-point land became a valuable asset to the Lady Cat offense in 2021-22 and she saw valuable time in all 30 games. She was often called upon to run the offense and quickly gained confidence in the point guard position. Blythe Benfield (Paragould, AR) returns for her sophomore season after seeing action in 28 games a year ago. As a part time starter, Benefield scored 5.6 points per game and pulled down 2.2 rebounds. She is a 5’11 Forward who is a savvy player. She looks to continue as an impact player for the Lady Cats on both ends of the floor. Jada Henry (Mansfield, MO) is a 5’10 guard who brings loads of athleticism and a smooth stroke from three. She saw action in 19 games a year ago and that experience will prove beneficial through the 2022-23 campaign. Newcomer Isabel Rohlfing (Rogersville, MO) joins the Lady Cats after a stellar career at New Covenant Academy (Springfield, MO) and a year at NCAA Division II, Southwest Baptist University. Her 6’2” frame will provide another inside presence on both ends of the floor. “Izzy’s” size and athleticism, along with her shot blocking and rebounding skills will add to her effectiveness. Her versatility and ability to score in multiple ways will be an asset for us on the offensive end. Defensively, her length and athleticism will help us control the paint, rebound and score in transition.”
Four freshmen join the Lady Cats for 2022-23. Avery Arnold (Blue Eye, MO) is a 5’6” guard who was a late addition to our program this summer. “We’re grateful it worked out for Avery to become a Lady Cat!” said Coach Mullis. Avery is a workhorse. She is fearless, tough, and determined. She loves to guard, is a great shooter with an ability to get to the rim. Avery is a winner and will compete at a high level for the Lady Cats. Taylor Rush (Batesville, AR) is a savvy point guard with a tremendous competitive nature. Her athleticism and relentless effort on the court will pay big dividends. She is a great passer, athletic, has good 3-point range, as well as the ability to drive to the bucket. Susanna Moran (Whitehouse, TX) is a 6’0” forward who gives the Lady Cats size and athleticism at the forward position. Her motor sets her apart with how hard she runs the floor, rebounds, and blocks shots. She is developing into a scorer with her ability at the rim and face-up away from the basket. Rounding out the Lady Cat newcomers is 5’10” guard Hannah Evans (Ava, MO) is an amazing athlete that brings length, athleticism, and a smooth shooting touch to the Lady Cats. Hannah will add solid depth at the shooting guard position.
As to strengths, Coach Mullis says, “As tradition has it, expectations are high for our team. We believe we’ve added depth with the addition of five very talented newcomers. A strong returning nucleus of Annie Noah, Jordan Wersinger, Kayley Frank, Katie Mayes, Stevi Jones, Blythe Benefield, and Jada Henry will lead our team with a strong mix from our incoming five. They are tremendous competitors, pushing each other in practice, while maintaining strong team comradery. We’re looking forward to a great season!”
As the tradition of Lady Cat excellence continues, look for great things to come from this group in 2022-2023.