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2011-12 Women's Hoops Outlook: Posts
As the 2011-12 Liberty women's basketball team prepares for its season opener, Nov. 11 at UNC Greensboro, LibertyFlames.com will preview the upcoming year. Today's fourth and final preview article profiles the Lady Flames' power forwards and centers.
Any discussion of the Lady Flames' post players has to begin with Avery Warley, who has developed into one of the top interior scorers, rebounders and shot blockers in program history. Warley averaged a double-double last season (12.0 ppg, 11.0 rpg), while setting a new Liberty and Big South Conference record with 363 rebounds on the year. The Washington, D.C., native also earned Big South Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Warley, who recently gained some valuable international experience while playing for Team USA during the Pan American Games, is well within range of the Big South Conference career rebounding record. Warley starts her final season as a Lady Flame with 901 rebounds, which is just 227 boards shy of breaking the existing standard.
"Avery is a dominating, experienced player inside," Green expressed. "She's a competitor who loves to win. We have high expectations for Avery and expect that she will reach her potential as a player and a leader."
Tolu Omotola, a 6-3 redshirt junior, fared well in her first season as a Lady Flame after transferring from TCU. She started all but one game, averaging 8.5 ppg and 5.9 rpg. A physical defensive presence, Omotola also ranked second on the team with 27 blocked shots.
"Tolu brings a nice amount of experience at the power forward position," Green noted. "She worked extremely hard this summer, including training with the Nigerian National Team, and has displayed a great deal of improvement in her game. Tolu has an exceptional scoring touch for a post player and shooting range that extends to the three-point line."
Sophomore Jasmine Gardner is the Lady Flames' other returning post player. The 6-2 forward displayed flashes of brilliance throughout her rookie campaign, including a 10-point, 13-rebound outing in an early-season win over Glenville State. Gardner also earned her first career start against North Carolina Central.
"Jasmine is an explosive player and perhaps the most gifted athlete on the team," Green asserted. "She possesses skills to score inside with her quickness and can also knock down the 15-foot jumper. Jasmine can impact the game from her position, and her offensive effectiveness will impact the success of our team."
Liberty's other three options underneath the basket are all freshmen—6-5 Katelyn Adams, 6-5 Catherine Kearney and 6-4 Ashley Rininger.
Adams played for a very successful Minnehaha Academy team in high school, helping her squad reach the Minnesota Class AA state tournament all four years. Minnehaha won the 2010 Minnesota AA state championship, as Adams was named to the all-state tournament team.
"Katelyn exhibits a very high basketball IQ and exceptional positioning, both offensively and defensively," observed Green. "She is a good passer and rebounder who has a soft, effective shooting touch. Katelyn displayed perhaps the most physical growth and development during our summer workout program."
Kearney experienced a considerable amount of success for Gloucester County Christian School, rewriting much of the program's record book. She averaged 27.1 ppg as a senior and scored her 2,000th career point off of an assist from her sister Sarah.
"Catherine is very competitive and has a good understanding of the game," stated Green. "She has worked very hard over the summer and has already improved in many areas. We have high expectations for Catherine to develop into an impact player within our program."
Rininger was a two-time honorable mention All-Ohio Division I performer at Canton GlenOak High School. Playing against some of the state's toughest competition, she posted 13.7 ppg and 11.2 rpg as a junior and 14.6 ppg and 9.9 rpg as a senior.
"Ashley has experience playing against some of the top players in Ohio," noted Green. "A quick learner, she is developing both her inside and perimeter skills. Ashley has an exceptional shooting touch."