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HCC women's basketball preview-high hopes

November 28, 2000|By JACK HILL III

HCC women's basketball preview-high hopes



Marlys Palmer has enjoyed much success while coaching the Hagerstown Community College women's basketball team through the years.

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When HCC finished with a 22-10 overall record and a 9-1 Maryland JUCO conference record last season, it was the fourth year in a row that the Hawks had a 20-win season.

Palmer has had a total of 10 20-win seasons during her 21 years of coaching the Hawks.

Palmer said she believes this year's team will continue the rich tradition.

"I think that this is a great recruiting class," Palmer said. "It is probably one of the nicest groups of freshmen that we have had. It is also the largest squad that we have ever had in terms of numbers. So, we should have some depth. That gives me a lot of combinations that I can use."

Palmer said she will carry 14 players on this year's team.

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There are four sophomores returning, including forward Brooke Russ (South Hagerstown), who was the top reserve last year. The other returnees are center Amy Fischer (Southern Fulton), guard Naomi Mason (North Hagerstown) and guard Candice Tucker (Gettysburg).

Guard Rachel Bachtell (Smithsburg) is a sophomore who did not play as a freshman last year.

HCC has nine incoming freshmen. Both forward Vennece Fowlkes and center Tiffany Tucker come from Broadfording Christian Academy, where they led the team to a pair of Maryland Christian Schools state championships. Fowlkes was named The Herald-Mail's Washington County private school player of the year.

Another key recruit is guard Emily Middlekauff (South Hagerstown), who was The Herald-Mail's Washington County public school player of the year last season.

There is a trio of recruits from Boonsboro that include forward Jade Whipp, forward Michelle Reeder and center Robin Curley.

The other freshmen are guard Dana Kline (North Hagerstown), forward Tissa Porter (Smithsburg) and forward Emilie Petry (James Buchanan).

The Hawks will open their season at 7 p.m. Wednesday hosting Catonsville.

Palmer said she thinks that Frederick, Garrett and Baltimore will be the Hawks' top competition in the Maryland JuCo conference.

Frederick was ranked 10th in the country and Hagerstown was ranked 19th in the preseason poll. Two other teams that the Hawks are going to play are ranked ahead of them. Mitchell (Conn.) is ranked 11th and Lackawanna (Pa.) is ranked 13th.

The Maryland JuCo Tournament will be held at Garrett and then the Region XX Tournament will be held at Frederick this season.

"I think the freshmen have forced the sophomores to step it up a notch," Palmer said. "They are battling for playing time. The team does some things instinctively, which is nice. It makes coaching easier when players can make something happen on the floor. We're anxious to get the season under way. Our goal is to contend for a championship."

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