Nakeya Penny, a 5-10 forward, is back for her junior season. She averaged 13.6 points and 6.0 rebounds per game as a sophomore and shot 50.5 percent from the field. She finished the season particularly strong, averaging 15.6 points per game in the Berries’ five tournament games.
Hoover thinks Penny is also one of the top players in the state.
“She’s probably in the top 30 in the state overall,” he said.
After the 1-2 punch of Jennings and Penny, the Berries have just one other player back from last year that saw varsity time in close games in 5-9 junior Sydney Bullard. She started the year last season on the JV but moved up to varsity after Seanna Redman tore her ACL about midway through. Bullard’s varsity minutes were sparse and she had 30 points and 45 rebounds on the season.
“She’s got a long way to go,” Hoover said. “Everybody else has just got to work at it. We’ve got to figure out who to play. I don’t even know about a starting lineup right now. I don’t know what our strengths are going to be. I don’t know what our weaknesses are going to be.
“I like them. I really like them. I think they’re trying hard. But we’re not able to guard anybody. We know that we’re going to see combination defenses. To prepare for a combination defense takes a lot of time and we’ve had four days since we got back from China. It’s just going to take awhile, that’s all.”
Samantha Kain and Katrina Neuendorf are the other two seniors on the team joining Jennings. Kain is a 5-9 post player and Neuendorf is a 5-8 defensive specialist.
The Berries have a 6-3 foreign exchange student this year on the team from Germany in Kaddi Winter who might start the year on JV.