Redhawks sign Moberly point guard

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Lovelady is the first player to sign in the spring session with Southeast.

Southeast Missouri State women's basketball coach B.J. Smith believes his spring recruiting is off to a flying start with Wednesday's signing of a junior college point guard.

Ashley Lovelady, a 5-foot-7 sophomore at Moberly (Mo.) Community College, will have two seasons of eligibility with the Redhawks.

"This is a great start for us to the spring recruiting period," Smith said.

Smith believes Lovelady will be able to step in and replace Wanika Owsley as the Redhawks' starting point guard next season.

Owsley was one of six seniors on this year's Southeast team that made its first NCAA Division I tournament appearance.

"We recruited her hopefully to replace Wanika. We feel she's that type of player. She's got those kind of skills," Smith said. "She's very athletic and strong."

Lovelady averaged about eight points, five assists and four rebounds per game this year for Moberly, which advanced to the national junior college tournament. She also played for the 2004-05 Moberly squad that finished seventh nationally.

"I'm excited about coming there. Very excited," Lovelady said. "They made me feel welcome. I felt like it was home. It felt like a big family."

Coming to a program that made the NCAA tournament last year also didn't hurt.

"That was a big factor," she said. "I wanted to go to a program that was winning."

Told that Smith believes she'll have a good chance to be the Redhawks' starting point guard next season, Lovelady said, "I think I bring something to the team he's looking for. Yes, I think I can do it."

Asked to describe herself as a player, Lovelady said, "I would say I'm very athletic, quick."

Lovelady joins former Charleston High School star Missy Whitney, an All-American forward at Three Rivers Community College in Poplar Bluff, Mo., as the Redhawks' two signees so far. Whitney signed in the fall.

Smith said he envisions signing at least three or four more players this spring.

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