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Wednesday, August 31, 2005
The 2004-2005 basketball season has already begun to produce several pleasant surprises. One such surprise has been the emergence of two freshmen players at the prominent point guard position.
On the women's team there is Catie Woods, a freshman from Lawrence County High School. Her coach at Lawrence County was John Wild, a Lipscomb alumnus, who is now an assistant coach at the University of Evansville.
Women's basketball coach Frank Bennett said Wild's philosophy and style of play are very similar to Lipscomb's making the transition easier for Woods.
"I chose to come to Lipscomb ... because of the coaches and where the school was located," Woods said. "The coaches here are amazing people both on and off the court. Nashville is close to my hometown, and I wanted to go to a school where my family and friends could watch me play."
Bennett believes that the level of competition Woods faced in high school will directly impact her ability to play on the collegiate level. She competed in the toughest Class AAA district and region in the state. Also, Woods' AAU travel team, the Shelbyville Sports Shop, finished third in nationals the summers before her junior and senior years.
"She played with and against some of the top players in the country," Bennett said. "She is used to top notch competition. Through her AAU experience she saw a greater variety of offenses and defenses than most high school guards."
Woods has set several goals for the season including being a vocal leader, learning the system and filling the role at the point.
Despite the difficult task of being a freshman point guard in a Division 1 school, Woods has the confidence of her team and her coaches.
"Catie gives us good quickness at the point guard position," Bennett said. "She is able to guard quicker players, and she is able to push the ball offensively. She also gives us an outstanding three-point shooting threat. She is mentally tough and doesn't get rattled easily. It is tough for any freshman to play point guard because [she] not only have to know what [she] is doing, but [she] also have to know what everyone else is doing and how it all fits together. However, her skills and experience will help her play well for us."
The men's basketball team features Labrian Lyons, a freshman from Riverdale High School in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
"He has the size and strength to play the point guard position at this level," said Bisons basketball coach Scott Sanderson. "The hardest part will be him having to learn on the job. He's going to make freshman mistakes and have to learn how to play through them."
Lyons is becoming more involved in the offense with each passing game.
"I contribute to a lot of wide open shots for my team by driving and dishing to them." Lyons said. "Like in the exhibition game against Freed, I only had six points but seven assists. I feel good right now, but college is a whole different level, and I have to get focused for everything because ... at point guard, you can't make too many mistakes and you have to lead."
Even at such an early point in the season, Sanderson had displayed his confidence in his young point guard.
"Labrian has great vision and does a great job getting the ball to the open shooters," Sanderson said. "He is also a very good free throw shooter, which is very important at the end of the game. I do feel he is very confident in his abilities to produce at this level, and as a freshman that is very important."