Ishee lands guard to replace player who failed to qualify

The Redhawks will feature only one junior and one senior

Southeast Missouri State women's basketball coach John Ishee recently learned that one of his nine incoming freshmen did not qualify academically.

It didn't take Ishee long to fill that roster spot with another youngster.

Katie Norman, who graduated from Freeport (Ill.) High School this year, has signed with Southeast.

"We're excited she was still available and we could get her," Ishee said.

The 5-foot-9 Norman averaged 12 points, 5.1 assists and 4.3 rebounds as a senior point guard. She finished her career as the fourth-leading scorer in Freeport history.

Norman, the daughter of Highland (Ill.) Community College men's basketball coach Pete Norman, earned first-team Class 3A all-state honors after helping lead Freeport to its second straight state title game.

"She's very competitive, a very hard-nosed kid," Ishee said. "She won't play point guard for us. She'll be more of a 2 [off guard] and 3 [small forward] type player. She's kind of a smaller Natalie Purcell," a former Southeast standout.

Ishee said Southeast actually offered Norman a scholarship last summer with the hopes of signing her during the early period in November.

Norman elected not to sign early and Southeast wound up landing nine freshmen.

But when Ishee learned that 5-10 guard Jasmine Lewis did not meet academic requirements and would have to attend a junior college, he contacted Norman, who still had not decided on a college.

"I think it worked out well for us and her," Ishee said.

Although Southeast is still two below the NCAA maximum of 15 scholarships for women's basketball, Ishee said his 2009-2010 roster is all but set, barring the possibility of a walk-on or two joining the program.

In addition to the nine freshmen, Southeast's roster will feature two sophomores, a junior and a senior.

Southeast's only returning players are 6-2 senior center Lesley Adams, 6-0 junior wing Lauren Sharpe, 5-7 sophomore point guard Bianca Beck and 6-2 sophomore center Amber Holmes.

Sharpe is the leading scorer among the returners at eight points per game.

Joining Norman as incoming freshmen will be 6-1 forward Brittany Harriel, 6-1 center Shanece Miller and 5-7 guard Jasmine Davis, all from Cincinnati; 5-6 point guard Shelah Fields from St. Louis (Riverview Gardens); 5-11 forward Ballie Roberts from Maryville, Tenn.; 5-7 guard Erika Lane from Knoxville, Tenn.; 5-9 wing Monica Miller from Memphis, Tenn.; and 6-0 forward Patricia Mack from Columbus, Ohio.

"We'll be young, but I really like all the players we've got," Ishee said.