Lady Braves basketball look to make move in KCAC

Greg Mast
The Ottawa Herald

The Ottawa University women’s basketball team grew immensely through many trials under a new coach last season.

The Lady Braves —with a season under their belt playing together and in Tarniesha Scott’s system — hope to turn their winning fortunes around in the 2021-22 season.

Ottawa (10-12, 11-16) returns three starters and 10 letter winners from last year’s squad. Ottawa returns its top three scorers in Liz Vaughn, Amyr Lowe and Kanecia Payne.

Ottawa University senior Liz Vaughn returns after leading the team in scoring (10) and rebounding (7.7) last year.

Vaughn and Lowe averaged 10 points a game last season, while Payne averaged nine points and five rebounds in 17 minutes per game. Vaughn also led Ottawa in rebounding at 7.7. Vaughn and Payne were honorable mention All-KCAC selections.

Simons was counted upon for an all-around floor game.

“Simons can do multiple things,” Scott said. “She can really shoot the ball. She showed flashes last year.”

The Lady Braves was selected sixth in the KCAC preseason coaches poll and ninth by the media.

“We will change up some things in how we play,” Scott said. “Our kids are highly competitive. I like how we compete each and every day in practice.”

Another top returner is guard Cierra Brown, who joined the team at semester.

“She tried to get adjusted to our program,” Scott said. ‘She is combo-guard for us. She can score it in multiple ways. She can facilitate the ball very well.”

Ottawa’s top recruit is freshman guard Haley Franklin, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

She was ranked in 2020-21 in the top 30 players by the Louisiana Girls Recruit. Franklin averaged 21.6 points per game, shot 70.6 percent from the free-throw line, 53.2 percent from the floor, averaged 6.6 rebounds per game, and 4.3 assists per game as a senior.

“She will impact our program right away,” Scott said. “Our guard play will be very good.”

Ottawa opens the season Oct. 28 at home against Haskell Indian Nations University.

KCAC Coaches poll

1. Tabor (6) 137

2. Sterling (6) 133

3. Kansas Wesleyan (1) 123

4. McPherson 107

5. Bethany 100

6. Ottawa 74

7. Bethel 73

8. Oklahoma Wesleyan 69

9. Friends 62

10. Avila 61

11T. Saint Mary 26

11T. York 26

13. Southwestern 23

KCAC Media poll

1. Sterling (13) 244

2. Tabor (6) 239

3. Kansas Wesleyan (1) 210

4. McPherson 193

5. Bethel 171

6. Bethany 170

7. Oklahoma Wesleyan 121

8. Friends 120

9. Ottawa 115

10. Avila 88

11. Southwestern 56

12. York 49

13. Saint Mary 44