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Lena Campbell Bramblett, a Marion County native, has been the head coach of the Saint Catharine College women's basketball team for nine seasons.
During her nine-season tenure, Bramblett has accumulated approximately 120 wins. She has coached some teams that have struggled, and some teams that have enjoyed success. This season's version of the Saint Catharine women's team is one she hopes to be very successful.
"This is one of my most talented teams ever, based on pure talent that they have," Bramblett said.
Bramblett also noted that the conference that both the men's and women's teams from Saint Catharine play in is one of the toughest in the entire country.
"Of the nine teams in our conference, five of them are ranked in the top 25 in the country. That's a very tough schedule just in conference play," she said.
The program at Saint Catharine has changed in recent history. A transition was made from a two-year program that had players transferring to another school, to a four-year institution that participates in division one NAIA athletics. Now coaches, including Bramblett, can watch their players develop from their first year to the last.
This has brought some challenges to Bramblett.
"We have to change the type of players we recruit to play at this level," Bramblett said. "To compete in the Mid-South Conference we have to go after division one and two recruits, and have a lot of transfers from those schools on our rosters."
With the school now offering a four-year basketball program Bramblett now has the chance to see her players grow and graduate with a bachelor's degree instead of barely getting to know them.
"In four years, you really get to know these girls and become part of their lives," she said.
This season shows promise, according to Bramblett.
"Our transfers are so talented, but we have to have a lot of talent to be competitive in this conference," she said.
Bramblett's team has already began their season, and picked up two scrimmage victories over Brescia University and Glenville St. College from West Virginia. They also have a 2-0 record on the season after defeating Asbury University 71-68 Friday night, and Martin Methodist from Tennessee on Saturday, 102-93
In the game against Martin Methodist, Saint Catharine was led by senior Courtney Milam with 25 points. Junior transfers Janae Howard and Reilly Poirier added 16 and 15 points, respectively. Sophomore Machera Calhoun chipped in 14 while Lametria Jackson added 13 points. Junior Jasmine Gibson scored 10 points while Riane Hofstraat added five points. Kasei Evans and Carol Ruiz-Lopez chipped in two points each in the victory.
The women's team has a pair of road games scheduled before returning home for four straight home games beginning Nov. 15.