The 2018-19 basketball season figures to be a historic one for the John Brown University women's basketball team.
Senior forward Baily Cameron is on track to become the school's all-time leading scorer and she could also hold several more school records by the time the season is over with, including field goal percentage, field goals made, rebounds.
John Brown University women’s basketball
Date Opponent Time
Nov. 3 Crowley’s Ridge 5 p.m.
Nov. 8 at Crowley’s Ridge 6 p.m.
Nov. 10 Ecclesia 5 p.m.
Nov. 15 Bacone (Okla.)* 6 p.m.
Nov. 20 Jarvis Christian (Texas) 5:30 p.m.
Nov. 26 at College of the Ozarks (Mo.) 5:30 p.m.
Nov. 29 at Southwestern Assemblies of God (Texas)* 6 p.m.
Dec. 1 at Texas Wesleyan* 1 p.m.
Dec. 6 Oklahoma City* 6 p.m.
Dec. 8 at Southwestern Christian (Okla.)* 2 p.m.
Dec. 18 vs. Benedictine (Kan.)% 3 p.m.
Dec. 19 vs. Morningside (Iowa)% 3 p.m.
Jan. 3 Central Christian (Kan.)* 6 p.m.
Jan. 5 at Langston (Okla.)* 2 p.m.
Jan. 10 at Science and Arts (Okla.)* 6 p.m.
Jan. 12 Mid-America Christian (Okla.)* 2 p.m.
Jan. 17 at Oklahoma Panhandle State* 6 p.m.
Jan. 19 at Wayland Baptist (Texas)* 2 p.m.
Jan. 24 Texas Wesleyan* 6 p.m.
Jan. 26 Southwestern Assemblies of God (Texas)* 1 p.m.
Jan. 31 Southwestern Christian (Okla.)* 6 p.m.
Feb. 2 Oklahoma City* 2 p.m.
Feb. 5 at Bacone (Okla.)* 6 p.m.
Feb. 7 Wayland Baptist (Texas)* 6 p.m.
Feb. 9 Oklahoma Panhandle State* 2 p.m.
Feb. 14 at Mid-America Christian (Okla.)* 6 p.m.
Feb. 16 Science and Arts (Okla.)* 2 p.m.
Feb. 21 Langston (Okla.)* 6 p.m.
Feb. 23 at Central Christian (Kan.)* 2 p.m.
* Sooner Athletic Conference game
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Cameron figures to be the team's centerpiece on offense as the Golden Eagles begin their season on Saturday when they host Crowley's Ridge College at 5 p.m. at Bill George Arena.
"We're obviously excited to have (Cameron) back and I think as a person she's matured a lot," said JBU head coach Jeff Soderquist, who's entering his 22nd season at the helm of the women's program. "She's doing a good job of leading and she's really come into herself and matured."
Cameron, a 5-foot-10 Siloam Springs native, is coming off an outstanding 2017-18 campaign where she averaged 18.9 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. She ranked fifth in the nation with a 57.3 shooting percentage (231 of 403) from the field, including 39.8 percent (41 of 103) from behind the 3-point line.
Cameron was named an NAIA second team All-American and earned first-team team honors from the Sooner Athletic Conference and Women's Basketball Coaches Association.
Cameron enters her senior season sixth in program history on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,529 points.
Cameron is 264 points behind all-time leader Kendra McCormick Knoner (1,793), another former Siloam Springs standout. Soderquist said when he signed Cameron in the fall of 2014 that he thought Cameron could have a similar successful career.
"I thought she could be a really good college basketball player for us," Soderquist said.
Cameron is one of a handful of returners from last year's team that finished 19-12 overall and 12-8 in the SAC, just missing a bid at a national tournament berth.
The Golden Eagles lost a lot of fire power in graduated seniors Jana Schammel (9.7 ppg, 45.8 3-point percentage), Kimmy Deines (7.7 ppg), Luiza Skrastina (6.4 ppg), Rosa Orpo (6.0 ppg), Courtney Fine (2.6 ppg, 46.7 3-point percentage) and junior Lauren Pelegreen, who had already graduated.
Soderquist is hoping senior Karina Chandra and junior Jordan Martin are ready to step into scoring roles for the Golden Eagles this season.
"They're both playing well," Soderquist said. "I'm very pleased with them."
Chandra (5-10, Brisbane, Australia), who averaged 5.6 points and hit 31 of 65 3-pointers (47.7 percent) last season after transferring from Eastern Illinois, appears to have come into her own, her coach said.
"With Karina, we're going to have a legitimate second scorer," Soderquist said. "If I had to do it over again I might have redshirted Karina. With all the players we had last year, there was not enough playing time to let her figure things out last year."
Martin, a 5-9 Bentonville native, has been caught behind Schammel and Deines the last two years at guard. She averaged 4.6 points per game last year.
"Jordan has had some really good practices so far," Soderquist said.
John Brown returns both of its point guards from last year in junior Sara Williams and sophomore Taylor Fergen.
"They're both playing well right now," Soderquist said. "I wouldn't be surprised if I play them some together."
Williams (5-7, McKinney, Texas) started 22 of JBU's 30 games and averaged 4.0 points and led the team with 102 assists.
Fergen (5-5, Republic, Mo.) made eight starts and averaged 3.6 points and had 51 assists.
In the post, the Golden Eagles are looking for senior Preslea Reece Lawson to bounce back after a tough junior campaign.
Lawson (6-1, Southwest City, Mo.) averaged only 3.7 points per game after being a solid contributor for her freshman and sophomore seasons.
"I think she's got tremendous ability," Soderquist said. "We need her to be more consistent, offensively and defensively. It's there. She's got the ability to play at this level."
Junior forward Ally Teague (5-11, Berryville) came on strong at the end of last season. Teague exploded for 24 points in a road win at Mid-America Christian in the opening round of the Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament to help JBU advance to a home semifinal against Science and Arts.
Teague averaged 4.1 points in 23 games played, but she figures to factor in the Golden Eagles' rotation more this season.
"I think what Ally has that is better than a lot of players is that motor," Soderquist said. "She's going to hustle. She's just flat going to hustle. I think the end of last year gave her some confidence coming into this year and now she's come back and knows she may have a more significant role."
The Golden Eagles' final returning player is junior guard K.J. Roh (6-0, Lincoln, Neb.), who has played limited minutes in her first two seasons.
"K.J. is a great kid, smart and a very good defensive player," Soderquist said. "She's got to get better and more consistent offensively."
John Brown signed five freshman who will need to play an important role this season helping with JBU's depth.
"That's going to be a key in how deep we are," Soderquist said. "We have a lot of talent in these five freshman. Can they understand and adapt to the college game and how quick is that going to take? There's no question about talent in this group."
Forward Kayla Nelson (6-1, Warrenton, Mo.) is expected to contribute in the post.
"We were excited to get her," Soderquist said. "She's got a chance of being a good post player."
Guard Marta Matamala (5-10, Madrid, Spain) is a talented guard who can shoot the 3-pointer, dribble and pass, Soderquist said.
Guard Maddie Altman (5-7, Littleton, Colo.) is a smaller guard who can play the point and shooting guard spots.
Forward Haley James (5-11, Arlington, Texas) is an athletic player that can play a three of four position.
Guard Sierra Bailey (5-10, Alma) is a strong shooter and a face Siloam Springs fans will be familiar with after playing for Alma the past three seasons
"Very talented group of incoming freshman," Soderquist said. "There's a learning curve with the speed and strength of the game and also what we're trying to do."
John Brown was picked by the Sooner Athletic Conference coaches to finish fifth in the league, although they might have been fourth if one coach had not picked them 10th.
Soderquist believes JBU probably needs to finish third or higher to be a candidate to make the NAIA National Tournament, which will be held in Billings, Mont.
"We've got to try to make a run for that top three," he said. "We still need to be a program that stays in the top three. We should have been a top three team last year."
Wayland Baptist (Texas), a national semifinalist was picked to win the league, while defending league tournament champion Oklahoma City was picked second, followed by Mid-America Christian (Okla.), Science and Arts (Okla.) and John Brown.
"I think those top five teams can all be anywhere," Soderquist said. "They're all right in the mix. You never know, you can have injuries. All those top five teams have a legitimate shot at making the national tournament and being good."Sports on 10/31/2018
Print Headline: Cameron on the verge of JBU history