Coach: Todd Dermody, 5-19 in second year at New Prairie and overall

Last year: 5-19 (3-9 Northern Indiana Conference); lost 73-37 to Mishawaka Marian in Class 3A South Bend Washington Sectional semifinal

Roster

Name`Height`Grade`Position

Bri Podemski`5-4`So.`G-F

Eva Dodds`5-7`Fr.`G-F

Megan Pinter`5-5`Jr.`G-F

Sage Mougin`5-5`Jr.`G-F

Libby Lapczynski`5-7`Jr.`G-F

Rachel Deutscher`5-8`Jr.`G-F

Taylor Nelson`5-7`So.`G-F

Allison Pavlick`5-6`Jr.`G-F

Maddie McSurley`5-9`So.`G-F

Jaiden Winters`5-7`Fr.`G-F

Jordan Winters`5-10`Jr.`G-F

Natalie Yacullo`5-6`So.`G-F

Key losses: Sydney Meyers (7.8 ppg., 4.9 rpg.)

Key returning players: Lapczynski (12.6 ppg., 2.6 rpg., 1.9 apg.,1.4 spg.), Nelson (4.0 ppg., 2.2 rpg.), Jo. Winters (7.7 ppg., 4.6 rpg.), McSurley (4.6 ppg., 6.6 rpg., 2.4 spg.).

Key newcomers: Deutscher, Pinter, Mougin, Dodds.

Outlook: With most of its nucleus returning, the Cougars are striving for improvement. They have only one senior, but huge junior, sophomore and freshman classes, so hopefully NP can continue to lay the foundation for future productive seasons. "We're building," Dermody said. "Those upperclassmen are leading a little bit, like Lapczynski's doing a really good job as a leader and bringing other kids in. And Jordan Winters has done a great job leading, so I expect big things out of those two. I know Taylor Nelson can score the ball like crazy, so I'm looking forward to her. But a secret kind of 'X' factor for us would be whether Allison Pavlick scores for us or not, because she's a really good ball handler." A solid post presence for NP, Meyers decided not to return to the team. She's focusing on robotics as she's the president of the Robotics Club. Dermody said the team will miss her size and rebounding, but  added both McSurley and Jordan Winters have been lifting weights and have been working out hard. "I think they'll fill in those roles pretty well," he said. Having a shorter squad, Dermody stressed that determined defense and reliable rebounding will be pivotal. "...The things that are going to be important for us are defense and boxing out," he said. "Making sure we score off of turnovers when they happen. And then, making our foul shots, too. Those were major weaknesses for us last year. So I feel like if we shore those things up, it will put us in a better position to be successful."

-- compiled by Zack Eldridge

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