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Friday, September 22, 2023

Women's Basketball

Women’s: Fresh crop of talent helps Cougars rebuild

All-Conference USA First Team selection Porshe Landry missed the Cougars’ exhibition opener and is day-to-day for the regular season opener. | Aaron Cisneros/The Daily Cougar

The Cougars welcome back only four players from their 16-0 Conference USA champion team.

The names on the backs of the jerseys have changed, but the goals remain the same for the Cougars.

“I need another ring,” senior point guard Porsche Landry said. “I have two ring fingers. I need another one.”

“That experience was really special. That’s what we play basketball for, to make it to the NCAA Tournament.”

Landry and senior guard Roxana Button are the lone holdovers from the rotation.

“Rox and Porsche, they’re going to be everything from a leadership standpoint,” head coach Todd Buchannan said. “They’re going to have to be there in every way — on the floor, out there during practice, obviously during the game, every possession. They’re not going to be able to take a possession off via leadership or even from a basketball X and O standpoint.

If the Cougars hope to continue their success playing at the breakneck pace of Todd Buchannan’s offense, Landry and Button will be key in getting things going.

“There’s a tremendous amount of expectations with their leadership roles. The good news is I completely, wholeheartedly trust them.”

Landry’s status for Friday’s season opener against New Mexico State is uncertain after taking a blow to the head in a scrimmage against Texas A&M.

If she cannot go, primary ball-handling duties will fall to Button and freshman Mileka Loydrake.

“Of course she has some things to learn because the level of play is different, but she’s coming along,” Landry said. “She’s going to be a nice, little freshman.”

Junior Tasha Tubbs, who transferred from Howard College, will also play a key role in the Cougars’ offense as a guard.

Replacing Landry might only be an obstacle for now, but a bigger issue for the Cougars this season will be replacing forwards Lesslee Mason and Conference USA Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year Courtney Taylor.

The Cougars are counting on three freshmen, Terran Alford, Amanda Lawson and Voché Martin.

“As far as post players, we only have Mae Woods returning, so we’re going to need these post players to step up. It’s extremely important that we do that.”

In the Cougars 65-41 exhibition win over St. Thomas, Lawson tallied seven points and nine rebounds, while Martin blocked three shots and grabbed six rebounds.

Alford came off of the bench and scored nine points, grabbed seven boards and blocked three shots.

“She comes in everyday ready to work and ready to learn,” Button said.

Woods, a 6’4 sophomore center, will also be counted on to step up and make a larger contribution this season after playing understudy to Taylor and Mason last year.

“When you have to guard Lesslee and Courtney everyday, you’re going to have to get after it,” Buchannan said.

“I think that with her size, being a true 6’3, 6’4, she has a chance to come in and dominate games, but right now her demeanor isn’t always that way.”

“I think she has an incredible amount to bring to the table. It’s just a matter of when she makes up her mind that she brings that demeanor of, ‘I’m going to score on you every time I get the ball.’”

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