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Juniors named basketball captains

Impressed by their hard work and dedication off the floor in the off-season, women’s basketball head coach Jose Fernandez has designated juniors Andrea Armstrong and Alana Tanksley captains for the upcoming season. The decision, announced on August 21, comes three months before the Bulls’ Nov. 21 season opener against Wagner College. The team is coming off a 7-20 season that left them desperately in search of players who can step up in pressure situations.

Armstrong, a transfer student from Kansas State, will be making her USF debut this season after sitting out last year due to NCAA transfer rules. At 6 feet 1 inch, she is being counted on to fill the void that has existed in the middle of the floor in recent seasons. Armstrong brings some experience to the team, having started in 16 games as a freshman on a Kansas State team that reached the NCAA Sweet 16.

Tanksley, a 5 foot 8 inch guard, returns after a season that saw her average 6.7 points and 3.6 rebounds per game in addition to her team-leading .395 shooting percentage from three point range. She played all 27 games as a sophomore, starting in 10 of them.

“We like the experience and leadership that these girls bring to the team,” said second-year assistant coach Tara Jones. “They took charge during the off-season, leading workouts for the girls and really doing a good job keeping the team focused.”

The team is young, with only two seniors on the roster. While seniors Sarah Lochmann and Melissa Tape were not chosen as captains, they’re still expected by coaches to accept an active leadership role among their teammates.

“Melissa and Sarah are people who are going to lead by example, both on and off the floor,” Fernandez said. “Andrea and Alana simply have a more vocal personality on the floor, though.”

Fernandez reached the decision after an off-season that, he says, impressed players as well as coaches. Tanksley is said by Jones to have a great deal of respect among her teammates, and Fernandez recognizes Armstrong’s maturity as a great asset the team should utilize.

“They have worked very hard in the off-season and I look forward to them both being an integral part of our team this year,” Fernandez said. “I believe they are leaders and have the work ethic and respect of their fellow teammates to carry out this responsibility. I have very high expectations of this squad and both these young ladies share that same vision.”