NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The five players that form the 2014 class for the Lipscomb Lady Bisons basketball team all come from different schools, but they all bring the same intangibles to the game.
Those intangibles are the reason coach Greg Brown wants the five on his team.
“They all play hard,” Brown said. “They all communicate well. They all have tight skill sets. A lot of it is a feel for the game…their vision on the floor. They are not hummingbirds. They stick their noses in there and go after it.
“They have already bought into the `we’. They don’t talk about how your season is going. It is always, `coach, how are we doing?’ That is something you don’t teach.”
The five are already forming ties through social media. Brown expects them all to quickly make contributions to the future of the Purple and Gold.
“I don’t know where they will be rotation-wise,” Brown said. “But now we will have quality depth. It is exciting the depth we are adding. It takes a couple of years to get those types of players.”
Loren Cagle, from Lipscomb Academy, was an All-Region selection as a junior. She was an All-District team member as a sophomore and junior.
Cagle, 5-foot-5, broke the 1,000 points barrier for her career in her junior season.
An all-around athlete, Cagle was the Tennessee state track champion in the 4x800 as a sophomore.
Cagle has been a part of the Lipscomb community since she was in elementary school.
“No one will know what we are trying to do better than her,” Brown said. “The first thing I noticed about Loren is that she is quick and fast. Those two don’t always go hand-in-hand.
“She plays the point in high school. But she handles the ball at any position. She shoots the ball well. She brings that basketball I.Q. we are looking for and she has a sense of urgency in her game.”
Cagle has been starting since her freshman season. She has a reputation for being a team player.
“It is not always easy for a freshman to play as much as Loren did and not alienate others, but she handled it perfectly,” Lipscomb Academy girls basketball coach Ernie Smith said. “Basketball has always been a team thing with Loren.
“She is a very good player, but a very unselfish player as well. Lipscomb University is getting a player that will get even better as she gets older and physically stronger. In addition to her basketball abilities, Loren is just a great girl from a great family.”
Her parents stressed that choosing Lipscomb was an easy decision.
“Lipscomb has a great staff, great location, great education and a great Christian environment,” said her parents Sherry and Mark Cagle. “Lipscomb has been home to Loren since fifth grade. It’s been such a blessing for her to be in such a positive Christian environment and we know that will continue at Lipscomb.
“We are so very thankful for this wonderful opportunity for her. She has been so blessed to have such great coaches over the years, both at school and with her summer basketball teams. Any success she has had to get her to this level is a direct result of their teaching and encouragement. We are excited for what these next few years at Lipscomb will bring!”
Brown expects Northway, 6-foot-2 standout for Brewer High School in Somerville, Ala., to bring size and skill to the post position.
“Riley has unbelievable energy,” Brown said. “She is real intentional with what we need in a post player.
“Like everybody we recruit we wanted her to be able to shoot the ball. She has great size. The main thing we wanted was the intangibles and the skill set that she brings.”
Brewer coach Ricky Allen describes Northway as a self-made player” that has earned every award and accolade she has received.
“She is the most self-driven, yet teammate-concerned individuals that I have had the pleasure of coaching,” Allen said.
Northway has found more than just a basketball team at Lipscomb.
“I was looking for a place to call home on and off the basketball court,” Northway said. “The first thing I found in Lipscomb was a spiritual home centered around Jesus Christ.
“Also, the loving coaches and players, combined with the high academic standards, created an environment I wanted to be a part of for four years.”
Northway has surpassed 1,600 points in her career. In three years she has averaged 18 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block per game.
She has been an outstanding player in both basketball and volleyball. Her awards include the MVP of the Alabama 5A State Basketball Tournament in 2012, three –time All-Area 13 in basketball and a three-time state all-tournament team member. Brewer High School was the 2012 5A State Champion.
ESPN High School has Riley ranked in the top 50 forwards in the nation at No. 49.
In volleyball she is a two-time All-State middle hitter. She helped Brewer advance to the 5A Alabama State Tournament finals in volleyball.
“After much effort, searching and prayer for a university that Riley could advance in spiritually, academically, socially and within the game of basketball it became evidently clear Lipscomb exceeded all of these expectations,” said Pam and Jim Northway. “Riley verbally committed early as we all knew this is where God wanted her to go.
“Riley’s extensive search confirmed that playing college basketball is all about where a player fits. It’s not about the universities size or conference they play in. Do you fit with the team, the coaches and the programs culture? We kept asking her over and over to investigate everywhere we went. The coaches spoke of these same expectations, making it even clearer. We believe the Lipscomb fit is perfect for Riley in every way. We look forward to many years of hearing how friendships were made and great games were played at Lipscomb.”
Fuqua is a 6-foot guard from Sycamore High School who could also see time as a No. 4 forward. She is known for her athleticism.
“She shoots the ball well and can handle it, but more importantly brings the intangibles we are looking for,” Brown said.
Fuqua was an All-Tournament and All-District team member in both 2012-2013 and 2011-2012.
“I chose Lipscomb because of the Christian environment and amazing community of people,” Fuqua said. “From my first visit, all the coaches and players were so genuine and welcoming.
“I believe that at Lipscomb I have the potential to make an impact. Also, I know that Lipscomb will allow me to grow overall as a person and a player.”
She is averaging 11 points, 6.5 rebounds, three assists and 2.5 steals per game.
“Amber is a very athletic and talented player,” Sycamore coach Kim Taylor said. “Amber is a great person and teammate and is willing to do whatever it takes in order for her team to be successful.
“I am extremely proud of the hard work that she has put in to enhance her skills. I am very excited that she has earned a scholarship and will be able to play basketball at the next level. Lipscomb is a great school. I look forward to watching her help build the program.”
Amber’s parents believe that Lipscomb is the best fit for her.
“Amber has worked so hard from a spiritual, academic, and athletic standpoint to get to where she is today,” said her parents Hope and Mike Fuqua. “We are so proud of her decision to go to Lipscomb.”
Brown and his staff identified Eubank, while she was in Lipscomb’s summer camp. She is a four-year starter for Murfreesboro Oakland High School who averaged 10.2 points per game as a junior.
“We identified Eubank early,” Brown said. “She brings length to the point guard position along with energy, communication skills and toughness. She already has a great skill set.
“She comes from a great high school program. She also played in one of the best AAU programs around. She is very comfortable here and very aware of what we are trying to do. She will help drive our culture.”
Eubank is a two-time All-Region and All-District team member as a sophomore and junior. She is the Oakland MVP as a sophomore and junior. She is a two-time all-district tournament performer. She is an honor roll student, a student council member, peer tutor and a homecoming attendant.
“We are so proud of Emily,” said parents Suzanne and Dwayne Eubank. “She has worked extremely hard and has been very dedicated.
“We look forward to this next chapter in her life. We are excited for her to be a Lady Bison! The coaches have helped make this an easy decision for her and we are confident it is the perfect place for Emily.”
"Emily Eubank is one of the most competitive kids I've had the pleasure to coach,” Oakland coach Jennifer Grandstaff said. “She has an unbelievable work ethic and great passion for the game.
“In this day and time a committed student-athlete like Emily is a rare find. She will be a major contributor to the Lipscomb program".
Kennedy Potts, 5-foot-10, started playing basketball in the seventh grade. She has been both a shooting guard and a point guard. Her goal has always been to play on the NCAA Division I level.
“She continues to grow,” Brown said. “She shoots the ball well. She brings a perimeter skill set.
“She brings her energy, understands what we are trying to do with the program and understands our culture as well.”
Kennedy averages 15 points, five assists, and two threes per game for Harpeth Hall School in Nashville.
“Lipscomb had everything I was looking for in a school,” Potts said. “I’m excited to be part of this program and learn from the new coaching staff and be part of a winning team. I also cannot wait to form new relationships with the girls on the team.”
Harpeth Hall coach Anne Weingartner describes Kennedy as “a prolific scorer and a skilled defender”.
“Lipscomb is very lucky to be adding Kennedy Potts to their team next season,” Weingartner said. “I look forward to watching Kennedy's college career unfold as she takes her strong work ethic and passion for the game to the Lady Bisons.”
Kennedy has made an appearance at the Nike Skills Academy and was named to the All-Tournament team at the Nike Tournament of Champions. She is a two-time All-Region performer as a sophomore and junior. She won the Rookie Award as a freshman. As a junior she was named her team’s MVP.
Weingartner calls Kennedy `the hardest working player’ she has ever coached.
“We are very excited for Kennedy to continue her basketball career at Lipscomb University,” said Leah and Joe Potts. “She was looking for a place where the school and coaching staff would challenge her as a person and player, and Lipscomb was the perfect fit. The new staff is truly building something special and we are excited to be a part of it.”