Lady Mountaineers ready to make another run at a title
Berea College's four seniors -- Briana Lanham, Nakeisha Greene, Bethanie Williams and Kristin Barnes -- have had outstanding college careers.
They've won a combined total of 67 games.
They've had three-straight 20-win seasons.
They've help the school win two-consecutive division titles.
There is, however, one major milestone that they've not been able to reach.
The Lady Mountaineers haven't won the USA South Conference Tournament.
Berea has advanced to the title game each of the past two seasons since joining the league, but suffered losses each time.
"We expect to be back there again," Berea College coach Trent Milby said. "We've just come up short two times."
The Lady Mountaineers bring back 10 players from a team that posted a 22-6 record last season, including a 14-2 mark against league opponents.
Berea lost two seniors, but signed four freshman -- a pair of which could make an immediate impact.
Aaliyah Hampton, 5-foot-9, guard, was a standout at Christian County. She can play either point guard or shooting guard and can get to the basket.
Destiny Combs, 5-foot-9, guard/forward, is a strong defender. The Male High School grad is also a force on the boards.
"We need to add some athleticism. We have two freshman who are going to play a lot and they bring that to the table," Milby said. "They are going to make a whole lot better overall."
The seniors highlight a very experienced roster.
Lanham, 5-foot-9, guard, jumped into the starting line-up at Berea after a record-breaking career at Madison Southern.
She led the team in scoring (12.5 ppg) and rebounding (8.1 rpg) last season.
Williams, 5-foot-9, guard/forward, averaged 11.7 points and almost five rebounds a game as a junior.
Greene, 6-foot-1, forward/center, has been a force in the middle her entire career. She was second in the team in rebounding (8.1 board a game) last season and averaged 5.8 points a game.
"We've got two 1,000-point scorers (Williams and Lanham) who are both seniors and Nakeisha Greene has more than 750 rebounds," Milby said. "So, those three have been big."
Barnes, 5-foot-9, guard, was fourth on the team in scoring last season at 8.9 points a game,
"She brings leadership and basketball IQ," Milby said of Barnes. "She's a good shooter."
Madison Central graduate Bailee Vanover was a big addition to the Berea roster last season.
The 5-foot-4 guard averaged 11.6 points a game as a freshman.
"She's just coming off soccer, so she's still trying to get her legs under her," Milby said of Vanover. "She can just run, run, run. She never gets tired."
Vanover was an All-USA South selection last season in basketball and earned all-league honors last month in soccer as well.
Leah Parker (sophomore guard), Destanie Love (sophomore forward), Marley Lawson (junior forward) and Isis Hill (junior forward) also return and will all be expected to help the Lady Mountaineers make another run at a title.
In the two seasons since joining the USA South Conference, Berea College is 30-6 against league opponent.
However, four of those losses have come to Piedmont College.
The Lady Lions have beaten Berea College in each of the past two conference title games, including 74-67 last year.
"There's a possibility it could be the two of us again," Milby said.
Berea College is set to open the season Saturday at Asbury College.