The St. Louis Surge is ready to “power up” with a weekend road trip that launches the defense of its first-ever national title.
St. Louis finished its title trek last August by defeating the league’s defending champ, previously unbeaten Auburn, and concluded 2014 with a 14-1 record.
The team received their WBCBL championship rings last Friday at a special ceremony held at downtown’s Ballpark Village and seven players from last year’s squad return to the hardwood Saturday night.
Forwards Jaleesa Butler (6-1, Georgetown) and Devonna Smith (6-0, UMSL) return alongside guards Bianca Beck (5-5, Southeast Missouri State), Leah Cotton (5-8, Minnesota) and Rebecca Harris (5-8, Illinois). Power forwards Leah Kassing (6-4, Bradley) and Gabriella Green (6-1, Lindenwood) also makes returns for another season.
What was tantamount to the Surge’s inaugural trophy hoist last year was its deep bench that could maintain both a perpetual scoring pace and defensive lock down. This resulted in a top-to-bottom roster that was continuously fresh, aggressive in shot selection and low in foul count.
That will be the plan again this season as exciting, new additions are in the fold. St. Louis native Brittany Carter, who played at Illinois her senior year, averaged over seven points a game, which included 33 three-pointers.
Guard Sam Price (5-9, St. Cloud State) averaged over a dozen points during her junior and senior campaigns at the Wisconsin-based university.
Guard Yelena Rosado, who played high school hoops at North Tech, averaged five points a game as a senior at Southeast Missouri.
It’s hard to pinpoint a starting line-up for Saturday since everyone is projected to log maximum minutes as the evening progresses.
The Surge come into Saturday night’s game carrying an 11-game winning-streak. If they want to make it an even dozen, it has to win on the road against a Nebraskan squad (0-0) that qualified for last year’s post-season.
The Titans finished 6-5 in 2014, which included a semifinal trip to the WBCBL Midwest Regional Tournament.
Guard Reshea Bristol (5-10, Arizona) averaged over double digits last season and 6-3 center Nicole Benson gave close pursuit. Power forward Kristen Humphries (6-2, Wayne State) also returns to the line-up.
It will be a hard challenge for the Surge this Saturday night, but that’s to be expected with every game this season as the WBCBL defending champs.
After all, with great power comes great responsibility.
(The Surge’s 2015 home opener is set for Saturday, June 13 at UMSL’s Mark Twain Gym versus Nebraska. A season ticket package, which includes five Surge home games with special incentives, is $75 and is available AT THIS LINK).
For more information on the St. Louis Surge, go to stlsurgebasketball.com.