At times last season, the McNeese State women’s basketball team showed great promise.
Sometimes the Cowgirls showed their inexperience.
Seeking to improve on both, sophomore head coach Lynn Kennedy announced the final three nominees for this year’s recruiting class on Thursday.
Sacramento State’s 6-foot-5 forward Alicia Falkowska, Rutgers’ 6-3 graduate transfer guard Stephanie Guihron and Monmouth’s 6-3 shooting guard Gabrielle Wener were added to the Cowgirls’ roster.
“The two things we needed after last year were experience and size,” Kennedy said. “We think we have addressed
both this offseason.
The trio join 6-2 freshman forward Marta Hermoso of La Pobla De Vallbono, Spain, a shooter. Kennedy said he has an open scholarship and hopes to add depth to the post.
“We’re looking for players on the (NCAA transfer) portal who can fill a need for us and give us more inside players,” Kennedy said. “Otherwise we think we’re ready to go, but you can never have enough good players.”
Falkowska spent one season at Sacramento State where she played in 18 games and averaged 1.3 points and 1.6 rebounds per game.
“Ala will bring us great experience in the position,” Kennedy said. “She can score on the basket as well as get out and knock down shots. She will be an intimidating factor at the rim in defense.
The 5-6 Guihon is a true point guard who has played on the big stage while playing in the Big Ten.
“We are thrilled to add Stephanie to our team,” Kennedy said. “She is a natural leader and brings experience playing for a legendary coach and an elite program. She is determined to win a championship and we can’t wait for her to bring that competitive attitude to our team.
The coach called Wener one of the best shooters he’s seen and said his skills would immediately mesh with his fast attacking style.
Kennedy will also have Autumn Watts back this season. He said she was ahead of schedule after sitting out last season with a knee injury suffered during pre-season. Kennedy said he expected the 6-1 Watts to be an integral part of last year’s team.
“She’s ahead of schedule and really going to give us a big boost inside,” he said. “The thing she will have to work on is getting the confidence back in the knee. It will take time, but she works hard and looks good.
Also ahead of schedule, said Kennedy, Southland Conference third-team guard Desirae Hansen, who despite playing with a bad hip led McNeese in minutes played (832) and averaged 10.6 points per game last winter. She had surgery after the season and is expected to make a full recovery.
“I think people will see a completely different player this year,” Kennedy said.
McNeese finished 13-15 in Kennedy’s first season at McNeese and 8-6 in Southland.
Cowboys head coach John Aiken has filled the remaining vacancy in his coaching staff by hiring Brandon Shingles.
Shingles spent the past two seasons as an associate head coach at Chipola Junior College in Florida, where he served as scouting coordinator, defensive coordinator and director of scouting, among other duties.
During that season, Chipola was ranked as the nation’s top defense in the junior college ranks, won the National Junior College Athletic Association state championship, and advanced to the NJCAA Final Four.
“Coach Shingles receives huge accolades as a coach and former player,” Aiken said. “He’s a great teacher and he connects well with the players, the staff, the administration and the community. He will help us in the areas of player development and implementing certain defensive concepts. He sees the play as one would imagine a professional playmaker. I feel like we have a rising star in this industry as his rise begins.