Wednesday, April 15th, 2009 - 12:19 pm

Basketball wrap-up

LaKeisha Hurst
Hurst asserted herself as the top scorer and rebounder.

Promising progress for women’s team

A regular season-ending victory over Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Division II champion and previous league unbeaten Cardinal Stritch may foreshadow what is to come for an improving Purdue Calumet women’s basketball program.

The Peregrines of second-year Head Coach Tom Megyesi used the 80-72 triumph over the perennial conference leader to claim a 5-5 conference record. Overall, PUC was 12-18 during 2008-09.

“The past season, our team proved that it can compete with teams in our conference,” Megyesi said. “Our won/loss record improved (from 3-7 and 7-24 in 2007-08), and our games were highly competitive.”

Just one player graduates from the 2008-09 squad: all-conference center LaKeisha Hurst (Dover, DE), who contributed team-leading 14.2 scoring and 9.5 rebounding averages. While her loss poses a challenge to replace, plenty of other able veterans return.

Sophomore point guard Meme Harris (Merrillville) earned second team all-conference recognition by averaging 12.6 points and nearly five assists a game. Honorable mention sharpshooting sophomore guard Jenny Britton (Dyer) added 12 points a contest, connected on 83 percent of her free throws and better than 42 percent of 3-point shots.

Sophomore forward Chrissy Lobodinski (Merrillville), freshman guard Nicci Desimone (Elkhart) and junior frontliner Sara Keilman (Hammond) combined for 21 more points.

“Our team returns eight out of nine players,” Megyesi said, “and our incoming recruits will be able to contribute significantly.”

Men’s squad building foundation

Vince Johnson
Johnson’s versatility and athleticism were impressive.

The growing pains of building a foundation for restoring the Purdue Calumet men’s basketball program were frequent and consistent during the recent 2008-09 season.

First-year Head Coach Dan Voudrie spent the season teaching, learning, molding, shaping, developing a new mindset and establishing standards of expectation during a campaign that netted a 5-24 overall record and 3-9 mark in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Division II.

“We set out in late September/early October with the objective of becoming a team, and we certainly accomplished that goal,” he said. “This group of young men accepted change and embraced adversity with an incredible intent to grow each day.”

Though few in number-an eight-player roster took the floor during the CCAC campaign-the squad banded together, competed with a passion and played as hard as its energy level permitted.

Senior forward Vince Johnson (Gary) earned all-conference honors while averaging 9.3 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. Junior guard Antonio McNeal (Hammond) and sophomore forward Antonio Hurt (Michigan City) topped the team in scoring with 12.5 and 11.4 averages, respectively.

Four-year veteran center Kevin Thomas (Highland) completed his PUC career contributing more than seven points and nearly six rebounds a game. The team’s other senior, guard Kris Krstevski (Schererville), added nine points. Sophomore guard Michael Patton (Gary) averaged 8.8 points and led the team in assists (93) and steals (36), while sophomore teammate Robert Williams (Gary) scored at an 8.4 clip.

“The tone for the 2009-10 season has been set by our returners with a high level of commitment to the foundational principles upon which this program is being built,” Voudrie said. “The essence of these principles is summed up by doing what is right in every situation.”

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