Redshirt senior Tolu Omotola (left) and junior Jasmine Gardner (right) are the two most experienced post players on the Lady Flames' 2012-13 roster.
As the Liberty women's basketball team prepares for its Nov. 9 season opener at Duquesne, LibertyFlames.com will provide a four-part preview of the 2012-13 season. Today's article provides a look at the Lady Flames' post players.
Tolu Omotola will anchor the Lady Flames' sizable quintet of post players, after making 64 starts during her two previous seasons on the team. Meanwhile, multiple players will attempt to fill the large shoes left by the departed Avery Warley. Junior Jasmine Gardner and sophomore Catherine Kearney both showed that they could be up to the task, combining for nine points, nine rebounds and two blocked shots while Warley was mired in foul trouble during the 2012 Big South Championship title game. One of four Texas natives on the Liberty roster, Omotola averaged 8.0 ppg and 6.6 rpg last season. She boosted her stats against conference opponents, posting 9.9 ppg in Big South play and pulling down 8.3 rpg at the Big South Championship. "Tolu displays scoring punch inside through power play, yet also has exceptional shooting touch out to three-point range and can stretch defenses," Green noted. "We look to her to be one of our leading rebounders this year. Tolu is a powerful force inside and must be reckoned with." Gardner, who stands 6-2, more than doubled her scoring average from her freshman season in 2011-12 and improved her field goal percentage to .510. As previously mentioned, the Volunteer State native contributed four points and four rebounds in nine key second-half minutes during the Big South Championship title contest. "Jasmine is coming off of a greatly improved sophomore year," Green offered. "She continues to develop and improve, providing exceptional power and speed in the post. She finished the season playing her best basketball, especially in tournament play. With Jasmine's effort and hustle, she can change the outcome of a game." The Lady Flames' tallest player at 6-6, Kearney was Liberty's leading bench player in both rebounds (3.8 rpg) and blocked shots (0.8 bpg) as a freshman. She played well in the Lady Flames' three matchups with Big South runner-up High Point, averaging 9.3 ppg against the Panthers. "Catherine is returning from a freshman season which included flashes of exceptional play," noted Green. "We look for continued development and improvement as she becomes a consistent, solid inside presence. Catherine is athletic and is the best shot blocker on our team." Rounding out the Lady Flames' roster, Katelyn Adams and Ashley Rininger both stand 6-4 or taller and were each redshirted during their first year on Liberty Mountain. During that year, the redshirt freshman duo was able to benefit from battling against strong post players like Warley and Omotola every day in practice. "Katelyn has a high basketball IQ and is perhaps one of our best passing post players," Green offered. "We have high expectations for her as she continues to develop. She has great shooting touch out to three-point range. Katelyn's work ethic, improvement and development have been the best on the team." "Ashley continues to develop and provide an explosive scoring punch," added Green about the Ohio native. "She can score inside and out and will provide needed rebounding and defense. As Ashley matures and develops, our future post play looks bright."
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