June 8, 2006

Quincy Classic To Have Lady Tigers Look

Traditionally post-season all-star galas snatch up the big name coaches in the industry. So third-year coach Kelli Swearingen was a bit surprised when she got the call to coach Missouri’s team in the annual McDonalds Quincy Herald Whig Classic next week.

“I was truly surprised when I found out they wanted me to coach the Missouri girls,” Swearingen stated. “This was just my third year as a head coach, and this is a pretty big game, so I was truly honored.”

Take a look at Swearingen’s record and it is easy to see why she earned the reward. The Lady Tigers have improved in each of her three seasons, posting marks of 15-13, 16-11 and 17-9 this year, bringing home just the second district title in the program’s history.

But Swearingen won’t just be taking her record with her to Quincy next week, she will have the luxury of leaning on two of her top players for one final game.

Jamie Fuller and Ali Fromm will give the 10-player Classic roster a definite Lady Tigers look.

“They will help a bunch as we try to keep the Missouri winning streak alive,” Swearingen stated. “Obviously I know what they are capable of doing so I will be leaning on them a lot.”

The duo headline a guard-oriented Missouri squad that also consists of fellow Tri-Rivers Conference standouts Brady Logsdon of Clark County, Stephanie Hicks of Knox County and Randi Wiley of North Shelby.

The latter two, along with Lisa Hooper, a 5-11 center from Palmyra, are the team’s lone post players.

Rounding out the roster are Rachel Moore of South Shelby, Savannah Spratt of Marion County, Elizabeth Foster of Palmyra, and Amber Anders of Highland.

“I’ve seen all these girls before, either playing against them, or when we were scouting our opposition, so I have a pretty good idea of what we can do,” Swearingen stated.

The Missouri coach said she expects to play an up-tempo style of ball, sticking with the style she has been known for in her three seasons at SCR-I. Illinois can expect plenty of full-court pressure and fast breaks.

The Classic uses college rules, including a shot clock, which will further play into the Missouri game plan.

“I think the Illinois team is more post oriented,” so we are going to look to run as much as we can and score a lot in transition to take advantage of our speed and smaller players,” Swearingen stated.

That should bode well for playing time expectations for the two Lady Tigers. Both Fuller and Fromm are used to that style of game and bring speed and defense together with scoring punch that should help the Missouri team secure another victory.

The game style may cause some stamina concerns for the girls, who have been out of school for several weeks.

Swearingen stated she wasn’t too worried.

“This past week at our high school’s open gyms, I’ve seen Fuller and Fromm in there more often this past week than I ever did during their four years in the program,” she joked.

The Missouri team practiced Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at Culver Stockton. They will get together for one last practice on Friday in Quincy before holding a pre-game shoot around on Saturday.

The game is set to tip off at 5:00 p.m. at Quincy University’s Pepsi Arena. The boys game will follow at 7:30 p.m.

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