By Ryan Barnhart
As the SJSU women’s basketball team prepares over the summer to continue on the success from last season, the Spartans will be looking to find the players who will be able to adequately fill in the holes left behind from the previous seniors.
With Paris Baird, Dezz Ramos, Jasmine Smith and Rachol West moving on, Jamie Craighead’s team has lost reliable players both offensively and defensively. Between the players, this quartet of seniors combined to score almost 50 points per game during the 2016-2017 campaign, with over 23 of those points coming from star point guard Ramos alone. On the other end of the court, the seniors were a presence on the boards as well, grabbing 20 boards between them.
Losing that much scoring and rebounding could prove to be detrimental to a team, but the Spartans will surely hope that faces both new and familiar can pick up the slack.
With outgoing seniors means incoming freshman and the Spartans will have a slew of first-year players looking to make an impact. Out of the four true freshmen joining the team, two will be coming in with some experience playing together at a high level. Megan Anderson and Danae Marquez both attended Clovis West high school in Fresno, Calif where they went a combined 117-15 with a top 10 state ranking through four seasons on the team.
SJSU also has a redshirt freshman in Anna Thomasdotter whose pedigree overseas could prove helpful. Hailing from Sweden, the forward played for the country in the FIBA U-16 European Championships in 2013 and was a starter for their U-17 team in 2014. Thomasdotter also played in IK EOS, Sweden’s highest basketball league from 2014-2016.
Aside from the newcomers, the Spartans also have veterans to depend on as well.
Guard Myzhanique Ladd will be the sole senior on the team next season, and would most likely be looked upon as the leader of the team. Ladd has seen increased usage with every year she has been on the team with increases in minutes, points and rebounds per game.
There’s no doubt that the shoes left behind from last season’s seniors may just be too big to fill—that kind of scoring and rebounding is hard to replace. However, improvements from the team’s veterans and standout performances from the rookies may help to ease the sting.