Head Coach Hana Haden has announced the signing of five returning players to the 2019-2020 roster. Three of these sophomores played significant roles on last year’s team that eventually made it to the Region XVI Tournament Championship game. These players include starters Chatori Tyler and Kaysie Newson, as well as Shania Liburd who played significant minutes for the Lady Greyhounds toward the end of last season. Also returning will be Taylor Lawson-Hicks, who played in 12 games before a season ending injury, and Darryn Zeigler who red-shirted the entire season.
Chatori Tyler, a 5’9 guard from Summit, IL returns as the team’s leading scorer from last season at 13 points per game and 421 total points. She also contributed almost 5 rebounds per game. Tyler earned First Team All-Region and All-Conference honors in her freshman campaign where she also set two program records. Tyler set the program record for single-game three pointers made (passing her teammate Kaysie Newson, who had set it at 9 on opening weekend) with 10 made threes in the Region Tournament Championship game. She also set the program record for three pointers made in a single season with 98. She ended the season ranked 6th in the NJCAA in threes made for the season. Tyler earned Co-MVP of the 2018-2019 season at the annual Greyhound Banquet.
Coach Haden expects Tyler to have an even stronger sophomore campaign, “Chatori had a very good freshman season, but I am even more excited to see what she does with a year of experience under her belt. She has worked hard this post-season to add to her offensive game and improve defensively.”
Kaysie Newson, a 5’6 guard from East St. Louis, IL averaged 10 points per game and scored 321 total points as a freshman. She pulled down almost 4 rebounds per game and led the team in steals. Newson earned First Team All-Region and Second Team All-Conference honors while starting 31 of 32 games and running both the point and shooting guard positions. She was named Co-MVP at the annual Greyhound banquet, as well as Defensive Player of the Year for her work at consistently defending opponent’s best offensive players.
“Kaysie was the glue to our team this past season. She took on a lot of responsibility of being a leader while playing out of position for much of the year, being our most consistent defender, and contributed several big offensive games. Her competitiveness makes her and everyone around her better. I look forward to seeing her growth as a sophomore.” said Haden.
Shania Liburd, a 5’7 guard from St. Thomas, V.I., came on strong late in the season for the Lady Greyhounds with big performances in the first round and semifinals of the Region Tournament where she scored 23 points and 19 points, respectively. Liburd averaged just under 7 points per game and 4 rebounds per game while shooting almost 47% from the floor. She was awarded the team’s Most Improved Player as well as Scholar Athlete for last year’s team.
Haden believes Liburd could have a breakout season if she continues to improve. “Shania is one of the best athletes in our league and her work ethic has allowed her to improve at a very fast rate. She matured a lot last season and gained an understanding of our expectations and her role and we really saw her excel in a few games at the end of the year. If she continues to work to improve her outside shot, she will cause a lot of problems for opponents next season.”
Taylor Lawson-Hicks, a 5’8 guard from St. Louis, MO, played in 12 games last season before eventually missing the remainder of the season due to a tear in her meniscus. Lawson-Hicks averaged 9 points per game over those 12 games, including an 18 point performance vs Lewis & Clark, 13 points vs State Fair and 15 points vs Jefferson College.
“It hurt us only having Taylor for less than half the season last year. She is a capable scorer but also a heady player who understands our offense and makes plays for others. She has been working hard in rehab and is expected to be cleared by the summer. She will need to have a productive preseason to get re-acclimated, but she has handled this adversity with a lot of maturity and I look for her to come back stronger next year,” said Haden.
The final returnee to next year’s roster is 5’11 guard Darryn Zeigler from Shaker Heights, OH. Zeigler red-shirted last season after an ACL repair last June. Zeigler was ranked the 65th best shooting guard in the 2018 class by ESPN and was a standout player at Shaker Heights High School, scoring 302 points in her senior season. Zeigler was cleared in December for team practice so she is very familiar with the system and program expectations.
Coach Haden believes Zeigler’s experience this year will help her in the long-run. “Darryn spent this year rehabilitating her knee back to full strength, playing on our scout team, and charting things for us almost like an assistant coach during games. While no one wants to sit out, it’s a unique opportunity to see the game from another perspective and I think she has gained some valuable perspective that will help her as a person and player both next season and beyond. She has had a phenomenal post-season and we look forward to having her suit up next season.”
Hana Haden and her staff look forward to having some experience and key leadership returning to next year’s roster. Chatori Tyler and Kaysie Newson were both Co-MVPs and Co-Captains for last year’s squad. The four returners who logged minutes last year combined for nearly 65% of the team’s scoring. Haden is most excited about the progress and willingness to work and improve from this group of returnees.
“This post season we have really focused on individual skill development. At the end of last season we sat down and had individual meetings and discussed what areas everyone needed to improve in. I’m happy with how each of our young ladies have taken ownership over improving their weaknesses. We need everyone to continue to work this summer so that we can have a strong preseason. I am excited about the leadership we have coming back in this group. They know our expectations and they know what it takes to compete in the Region. We have a great group of freshmen coming in and I feel good about the people they have to show them the way.”
So far, the Lady Greyhounds have signed incoming freshmen B’Aunce Carter (Belleville East, IL), Bryce Dowell (Belleville East, IL), Kayla Langley (DME Academy, FL), and Kori Tomlin (Cardinal Ritter, MO).