New look Lady Trailblazers look to make National Tournament for the first time since 2016 - Athletics

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New look Lady Trailblazers look to make National Tournament for the first time since 2016

VINCENNES, Ind. – Head Coach Harry Meeks is coming off being inducted into the NJCAA Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame enters his 30th season patrolling the Vincennes sidelines and hopes to make 2021 a season to remember as he sits just nine wins away from 700 victories at Vincennes University.

VU returns only one starter from the 2020 season in sophomore guard Amani Brown. Brown averaged 15.1 points and 3.4 assists last season and will look to build on that production as her role on the team grows.

“Amani is Amani. She can score, she plays good defensively, Amani plays hard and she brings it every game,” Meeks said of his returning guard. “I expect her to be a leader on our basketball team.”

The Lady Blazers are also excited about the return of sophomore guard Reeva Hammelman, who last suited up for Vincennes nearly two years ago. Hammelman suffered a knee injury before the 2020 season and was forced to watch from the sideline. Reeva averaged 8.9 points and 3.1 rebounds per game during the 2019 season.

“Reeva got hurt really early last year, did not play at all for us. Reeva has plenty of experience, she can score, she can shoot, she plays good defense. I look for her to be a factor for us, she’s going to be one of our better players,” coach Meeks added.

The third and final returning VU sophomore is Macy Michels, who played sparingly in just 18 games last season. Coach Meeks plans to use Michels in a more meaningful role this season, looking for Macy to serve as the teams low-post presence.

“Macy played very little for us last year, but she’s going to be a contributor,” Meeks said of Michels. “She’s worked hard and you can see that she is benefiting from some of the hard work that she has put in. She knows how to play; she knows how we play and she did a good job in our scrimmage.”

The 2021 Lady Blazers have brought in some veteran experience in the form of transfer players such as Shaila Beeler (Indiana), Alexis Radcliff (Southeastern Illinois), Nina Blade (Southeastern Illinois) and Trinitee Harris (College of Central Florida).

“Shaila Beeler is a tremendous guard. Beeler is coming back from an injury, so it will take some time for her to play herself back into shape, but she is going to be a major factor on our team,” Meeks said. “She’s a tremendous ballhandler, great shooter. She was one of the better high school players in the country when she came out and we expect her to get back to that level here.”

“Trinitee Harris is going to be a big-time player here. She has all the skills; she didn’t shoot much in the scrimmage, but she will shoot the ball. She has 20 points written beside her in the score book a night if she’ll just shoot the ball. Harris is quick with the ball, great passer. The more she gets comfortable in the system, she will be a star on this team,” Meeks said.

“Alexis Radcliff is another player I expect to be a major contributor for us,” Meeks added. “She’s a post player, has all the post moves, can make free throws. She was a 20 points per game scorer last year at Southeastern. Alexis will do a really good job for us and could possibly be a starter later on.”

Coach Meeks has also brought in a stout recruiting class of incoming freshmen in; Noni Russell, Brianna Raynor, Candela Lascorz, Enija Brown-Griffin and Dalina Meyer.

“Enija runs the floor, plays good defense, she just needs a little more experience,” Meeks said. “She needs to concentrate on her ballhandling and not taking chances with the ball. She will be a good rebounder for us and a good scorer inside.”

“I think Noni will come on and do a really good job for us. She’s our backup point guard, has good court speed, can push the ball up and down the floor, she will do a good job for us.”

Vincennes will open the 2021 season on the road as they take on Mineral Area Saturday, Jan. 23 at 6 p.m. and will make their return to the P.E. Complex floor two days later on Monday Jan. 25 when VU hosts Brescia at 7 p.m.

“We are going to take a hard look at the scrimmage film and make sure we correct some of our mistakes, both defensively and offensively, before we head to Mineral Area,” Meeks said. “Playing at Mineral Area, you’re not going to be able to let them have a run of 10 to 12 points, the game will be close all the way and it may be the last possession that decides the game.”

“We are going to have to play hard and play good defensively. Mineral Area has a new coach in Briley Palmer, who was an assistant there and she is a really good coach. But we are going to have to up our game. We have to give up less points and score more if we hope to be a major player in our region this year.”

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Play4Kay

The Vincennes University Athletic Department hosts Play4Kay and raises donations for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund annually. VU Women’s Basketball Coach and Athletic Director Harry Meeks has a special connection to the late Yow, who was the longtime coach at North Carolina State. He had the pleasure of meeting her while he was an assistant coach at Western Carolina University. This left a lasting impression on him and made this cause important to him and the Trailblazers.

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