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Tuesday, Nov. 2

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[NOV. 2, 2004]  Four sophomores are being counted on for team leadership as Lincoln College begins its women's basketball season Saturday at Sauk Valley in Dixon. Coach Carol Wilson begins her seventh season as the Lynx mentor, and four of her first six teams have posted winning records.

The Lynx are coming off a losing season (12-20) and Wilson hopes to get back on the winning track. However, she said, "It is going to be tough, as everyone in our conference is improved over last season. Illinois Central is ranked second in the nation and is probably head and shoulders above the rest. Lakeland, John Wood and Lincoln Land are all improved, and the rest of the teams in the conference should be about equal.

"We are going to be very short, but we do have some quickness. For us to be successful, we need to rebound well and cut down on our turnovers. At the present time no one has stepped up and earned a starting spot. It could be a revolving door, with everyone fighting for playing time. I know in my mind which players should be starting, but they just haven't stepped up at this time. The ones that play defense, rebound and play with energy will see the floor."

Jessica Hamman is the top returnee from last season, with an average of 12 points per game. She also led the team in rebounds with 246, 96 coming on the offensive end. Other top returnees are Kristin Rucks, Nicole White and Brittany Ingram. Rucks is a graduate of Mount Pulaski High School and Ingram from Lincoln High School.

"The four sophomores will be counted on heavily to bring leadership and play both ends of the floor," Wilson said. "All four need to step up and show improvement over last season. Hamman should be our go-to person in the post, and she needs to become more physical and hit the boards.

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"We have spent a lot of time on fundamentals in the early practices sessions, as several of the players need a better understanding of the game. Two freshmen have shown a lot of promise early, with Tiffany Tungate showing a great knowledge of the game. I look for her to get a lot of quality minutes on the court as she makes heady plays, although she lacks quickness. Carmen Weaver has also been impressive early on, and we will need for her to score. She is a good shooter who can hit the 3-pointer. Those two are likely to see the most playing time as newcomers, although several others have shown they will be able to help if they continue to work hard in practice and make contributions."

Returning sophomores include Mickey Coleman, Irma Cruz, Dominique Gore, Jehnyah Leach, Erica Rodgers and Joni Carey. Joining the squad as freshmen are Sarah Franklin, Tykeia Gunn, Latoria Lane and Michelle Goodrum.

[Bill Martinie, Lincoln College]

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