PERU – On Saturday, December 2, 2017, the Peru State Bobcat women’s basketball team found themselves with only four players. Injuries had plagued the squad all season and continued to do so through 2018. Bobcat student-athletes from volleyball and cross country stepped in to help. In addition, several transfers joined the team during the Christmas break.
Fast forward to May 2018. Head Coach Joan Albury has helped to nearly quadruple her roster size from December. The Bobcats have secured commitments from eight new players from Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, and Brazil. These women will join Peru State’s seven returners. Returning for the 18-19 year will be seniors: Lauren Beath (Bakersfield, Calif.), Beth Hall (Graceville, Fla.), and Swaranga Fernando (Colombo, Sri Lanka); juniors: Brooke Maeda (Honolulu, Hawaii), Jackie Beaugard (Omaha, Neb.); and sophomores: Claire Cudney (Marysville, Kan.), and Jakia Vaughn-Taylor (Omaha, Neb.).
With an anticipated roster size of 15, the Bobcats hope to be a stronger presence in the Heart of America Athletic Conference (Heart). Aiding the Bobcats in their 2018-2019 mission will be freshmen Alyssa Marsh-Contreras (Omaha, Neb.), Daspin Bruning (Horton, Kan.), and Alyssa Garza (Meriden, Kan.); sophomore Maria “Duda” Alcantara (Recife, Brazil); juniors Allison Tichy (Bellevue, Neb.), Anjanea “Nea” Simms (St. Louis, Mo.), and Giovanna Silva (Brazilia, Brazil); and senior Jordan Salas (Winfield, Kan.). The Bobcat bench will feature Head Coach Joan Albury, student assistant Brandon Sullivan, and student managers Emily Meyer (Sabetha, Kan.) and Maddy McPhillips (Omaha).
Coach Albury looks forward to adding depth and diversity to each position on the floor. “Having 15 will give us more options in practice after only having seven in the spring. We expect each of our girls to challenge one other and look to our upperclassmen to help develop leadership in our younger class. Alyssa M-C will add depth to both the point guard and shooting guard positions. Daspin and Alyssa G can add strength in the paint. Maria is going to be able to challenge her defender on the inside and draw them out to the perimeter. Allison has experience as a point guard and a shooting guard, which will help diversify her on the floor. Nea is a strong rebounder that can finish well on put-backs. Jordan and Giovanna will be counted on to be a strong force in the paint. Their presence inside will help open the guard play to more looks.”
The first competition date on the calendar is set for Friday, Nov. 2, 2018, as they will participate in the Bulldog Invite hosted by Concordia in Seward, Neb. The Bobcats will take on the hosts the first night and then face Doane on Saturday.
The following is a synopsis on the recruits based on the information they provided and/or gleaned from recruiting/previous school sources.