SPRINGFIELD, Mo–The Drury Lady Panthers are 2-0 this season, ranked tenth in the nation, and will play in the home opener Saturday afternoon.
Amy Eagan will start her third year at Drury and as usual she’ll be looking to replace some key players.
But what else is new when it comes to Drury womens basketball.
Drury has been here before.
The Lady Panthers have made it a habit of replacing all-American players and not skipping a beat.
“You’re never going to replace a Paige Robinson. You’re never going to replace a Hailey Distlekamp. You’re not going to do those things. But there’s other ways to win. And other ways to be really, really good. I think we have that group,” said Eagan.
Robinson averaged 21 points and four rebounds a game last season.
She helped lead the Lady Panthers to the NCAA D2 second round.
Eagan:”Maybe people are wondering who we’re going to be and what we’re going to be about. Because of the loss of the kids who graduated, especially Paige Robinson. And the impact she had in this program. But man this group is going to be fun.”
This group was the preseason pick to win the Great Lakes Valley Conference for a seventh straight year.
And Drury started the season ranked tenth in the national D2 coaches poll.
That’s 136 consecutive weeks of being ranked in the top 25, the longest streak in the nation.
“It’s just the standard that we pass on year to year. And it started way back when, we’re just keeping on with the tradition,” said Drury guard Kaylee Damitz-Holt.
“Me and Dee joke that we’re the day ones. We’ve been here since day one. So we’ve always had it drilled in our brain what was expected of us. So we know and we can tell the younger girls don’t feel the pressure. I know we have a lot of expectations but you’re here for a reason. We all know we can get it done,” said Drury Forward Alana Findley.
Alana Findley and Kaylee Damitz-Holt are two of nine returning players.
Damitz-Holt averaged 14 points per game.
Findley was a double, double machine, collecting nine of them last season.
Findley:”I’m just trying to play like I always play. And not do anything more then I need to. I have great teammates around me that can also do things. And I know I can rely on. So I’m not trying to do more then I need to. And I know they aren’t either.”(1:27)
Terrion Moore is the third starter back, she’s Drury’s defensive specialist.
The Kansas City native had 84 steals and 21 blocked shots.
“To me defense wins games. You can’t always control what you do offensively. But you can always control what you do defensively. It’s all about effort,” said Moore.
And Lady Panther fans know that effort regularly results in deep NCAA tournament runs.