Freshmen expected to make big impact

Sophomores Ta’Kenya Nixon and Mariah King said this season’s freshmen class has a lot of talent and a lot of shooters.

But is the five-player class better than Nixon and King’s four-player class?

“We’ll see I guess,” Nixon said.

This preseason, King said the freshmen have been able to form a lot of chemistry with the rest of the team. Both sophomores are excited about the class.

“We got a lot of new people so we’re pretty excited to see how it goes,” Nixon said.

Head coach Brady Sallee is excited too. Sallee said some of the new freshmen are going to make immediate impacts on the team.

Freshman guard Jessica Parker is at the top of the class right now, according to Sallee.

Sallee said Parker can shoot the lights out and is built like a Big Ten player as a six-foot tall guard.

“She can really drain it,” Sallee said. “She is making a case for a lot of playing time out there.”

Freshman guard Jordyne Crunk is a versatile guard that will help the Panthers at the point guard and shooting guard positions, according to Sallee.

She has a mentality that he likes, Sallee said.

“A kind of tough, ‘I’m not going to back down’ mentality that has been successful here,” Sallee said.

Freshman forward Taryn Olson is drawing comparisons from the coaches to King, at this time last year; however, Sallee said she is as long and tall as any player on the team.

As a six-foot-two forward, Sallee said she is finding a way to make her good athletic ability work for her in the offense.

“She doesn’t quite get (the system) yet, but with things she does naturally she’ll be a good player,” Sallee said.

Sallee said he thinks freshman guard Jackie Herman is as talented of a guard as the team has; however, she is still learning, just like all of the other freshmen.

In beginning this season, Sallee said it is important to teach the freshmen how hard they have to play day in and day out.

Sallee said there is a lot of talent in the class, but at times he said they are frustrating to coach like any other group of freshmen.

“It’s a tough group to coach, one that will make my hair fall out more than it already has,” Sallee said.

Freshman forward Brittany Cochran rounds out the freshmen class, but is not the final new face.

Juniors Hillary Held and Stephanie Benninger transferred from junior colleges, while red-shirt freshman Morgan Palombizio sat out last season.

Alex McNamee can be reached at 581-7944 or [email protected].