By COURTLIN HAYGARTH | HSU Sports Network
ARKADELPHIA — The Henderson State woman’s basketball program tips off the 2022-23 season with the GAC/MIAA Conference Challenge. The Reddies will travel to Searcy to take on No. 19 Missouri Southern State University on Friday, Nov. 11 at 3 p.m. and then Emporia State University on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 11 a.m.
Last year, HSU ended its campaign with a 13-9 GAC record and was rewarded with a spot in the conference tournament. The Reddies entered the contest as the No. 4 seed and would defeat East Central University(79-66) in the first round. In the semifinals, HSU would fall to the No. 1 seed and eventual winner, Southwestern Oklahoma State University.
Reddies report 2022
Henderson State returns 11 players from a year ago, though, the team will be without Karrington Whaley and Lani Snowden. Whaley ends her career tenth on the HSU scoring list(1,134), first in blocks(179) and second in rebounds(838). After five seasons, Snowden is thirteenth in points scored(1,065) and third in career three-pointers(220).
Adding to the list of key departures, Maci Mains is another player the Reddies will be without this year. Mains finished with 885 career points in four seasons, shooting 37% from the field and 36% from beyond the arc.
However, HSU does return its top scorer from a year ago in Ashley Farrar. The senior guard scored 526 points last season while shooting 41.5% from the field and 34.7% from deep. Farrar had 13 games where she scored 20 or more points and 27 games with double-digit points. The Green Forest, Ark. native, claimed three GAC Player of the Week awards and was named All-GAC Second Team in 2021-22.
Along with Farrar, the Reddies bring back Gracie Raby, who had the fourth most points on the team with 296, and Sonni Martin, who tallied a team-high 104 assists. Jadah Pickens is back for her third season after recording 38 steals last year, which was tied for the most with Martin.
Henderson State has defeated Missouri Southern in the last three meetings, including an 81-74 win in last year’s GAC/MIAA Conference Challenge. The Reddies’ only loss against the Lions was in the 2018-19 season. HSU leads the head-to-head series 3-1.
HSU is still looking for its first win against Emporia State, as the Lady Hornets have won all three meetings. Last year the two sides met in the same competition, and ESU won the game 84-66.
SCOUTING MISSOURI SOUTHERN STATE
The No. 19 Lions have won their first two games, including a victory over No. 23 Lubbock Christian University. Along with the two wins, the Lions faced Division I Wichita State in an exhibition game. MSSU would fall to WSU 72-70 in overtime.
Missouri Southern returns all five of its leading scorers from last season. Lacy Stokes, who led the team in points a year ago, has scored 32 in the first two games and is shooting 31.4% from the field. Madi Stokes was the team’s top rebounder last season and has tallied 21 through two games.
SCOUTING EMPORIA STATE
ESU returns seven players from last year, including four members with 20 or more games played. Among those returners, leading scorer Jobe Tre’Zure is back after averaging 16.9 points a game last season. Emporia State finished the 2021-22 season 15-14 with a league record of 10-12.
The Lady Hornets played the University of Oklahoma in an exhibition game before taking part in the GAC/MIAA Conference Challenge. Tre’Zure led the team with 18 points, shooting 43.7% from the field and 30% from the three-point line, but the No.15 Sooners would prove too much, winning 90-67.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR…
- The Henderson State women’s basketball program has not lost a season opener since the 2017-18 season. The Reddies have won four openers in a row, including last year against Missouri Southern State.
- Farrar is 254 points away from cementing a place on the all-time scorers leaderboard, as she trails Schree Eckles, who has 1,060 career points. The senior currently has 806 and scored a career-high 526 in 2021-22.