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HCC women attempt to live in the fast lane

November 01, 2007|By JACK HILL III / Staff Correspondent

Traffic cops with radar guns might be sitting outside the Hagerstown Community College athletic complex when the Hawks women's basketball team takes the court.

"Our team speed will probably be our strength," HCC coach Marlys Palmer said. "Teamwise, it's probably the quickest team we've ever had. We can get up and down the floor. Hopefully, that team speed translates into some good defense."

The quickness gives HCC a versatile roster of 12 players and a diverse attack when it opens the season on Saturday at 1 p.m. at home against Prince George's. The game will mark the debut of seven area freshmen.

"All 12 can play and play pretty well," Palmer said. "We are going to try to use all 12 as much as we can. Out of those 12, we have several different combinations we can put out on the floor. It depends on what our opponent brings and what we have to defend."

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The speed sets up other aspects for the Hawks.

"We have a couple of people who can shoot," Palmer said. "We have some balance in a couple of areas. We have adequate size, but I don't think we're going to dominate anybody in size."

HCC has eight freshmen overall, including four guards who are North Hagerstown graduates: Cara Thompson, Shawayna Morel, Valentina Wheeler and Veronica Wheeler. The other four are guard-forward Alex Baker (Boonsboro), forward Amy Rhoderick (Boonsboro), forward Lindsey Smith (Williamsport) and forward Tiffani Porter (Woodbridge, Va.).

They will be supporting the four returning sophomores, all from the Tri-State area - point guard Teonna Jewell (Smithsburg), guard Alicia Myers (James Buchanan), guard-forward Latoya Buckner (Martinsburg) and forward Shuashanna Faulkner (Hedgesville).

"We don't have as much of an experienced group as some of my past teams," Palmer said. "Jewell is the only returning starter from last year. Myers and Buckner got some significant minutes off of the bench. Faulkner saw a little bit of time off of the bench."

Palmer, who owns a 505-311 record through 28 seasons at HCC, has the Hawks facing a tough schedule while trying to match last season's success. The Hawks finished 24-7 and tied for second in the Maryland JuCo Conference. Top-seeded Garrett eliminated HCC from the conference and Region XX tournaments.

"It could be the toughest schedule we have ever put together combined with eight freshmen," Palmer said. "Every game is going to be a challenge. There is not one game that we can overlook. ... The conference is getting stronger every year. You can't look at your schedule and say, 'There's a win.'"

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