TORRINGTON – The Eastern Wyoming College Lady Lancers are coming off of a 22-12 season, where they were two points away from winning a Region IX championship.
The Lady Lancers were seeded into the tournament and they went on a tear. They picked up wins over Lamar Community College (69-59), Western Wyoming Community College (75-66) and Trinidad State Junior College (52-46). EWC’s three wins put them into the championship game against Western Nebraska Community College. The Lady Lancers finished second in the region after falling to the Lady Cougars, 53-51.
If the Lady Lancers are to return to the title game again this season, they are going to need to rely on a batch of new faces. Pamela Bethel and Ijeoma Adaora Ezikeolisa are the only two returning Lady Lancers, joining a cast of 10 new girls.
Bethel, who is tied for the tallest player on this year’s team at 5-feet-11, saw action in 31 of EWC’s 34 games last year, starting in 21 of those games. She averaged 6.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 0.7 blocks per game. Ezikeolisa took to the floor in 33 games a season ago, averaging 1.1 points and 2.5 boards per contest.
“We know we are going to have a pretty new group, but our returners Pam and Adaora have been doing good and we expect big things from them,” coach Tom Anderson said. “But, getting the team to mesh is something you always need.”
Lauren O’Connell is the only other sophomore on EWC’s roster. She is a transfer player from Utah State University Eastern. She played in all 32 games last year, putting up 5.1 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game.
Two of the ladies that will don an EWC jersey for the first time this year may not be new to Lancer fans. Kaylynn Jefferson (Lingle-Fort Laramie) and Emily Buchanan (Southeast) are two local products that graduated in 2017 and signed to play for EWC this winter.
Looking at the roster, other than four girls, everyone is 5-feet 8-inches or shorter. Anderson noted that that may be a weakness this year.
“We are lacking heighth a little bit, but I think we can overcome it by playing tenaciously,” Anderson said. “We have done it before and we can do it again.”
The Lady Lancers only have a couple practices under their belt so far this year. Because of that, Anderson said it is hard to pin down the team’s top strengths, but he did say that perimeter shooting would likely not be a problem this season.
“I think we’ve got a number of capable shooters,” he said. “If you’ve got one or two, it’s easy for other teams to shut them down, but with a lot of shooters, it’ll be tough on other defenses.”
The Lady Lancers have two scrimmages this month before kicking off their season against Casper College on Nov. 1 at 5:30 p.m. The game is set to tip at Verl Petsch Jr. Activities Center Gymnasium.
“We hope to hit the ground running, but until some of these kids are put in game situations, it’s hard to see how they’ll react,” Anderson said. “We have some high expectations this season, but we still need to take it one game at a time and start getting some wins.”