The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

March 16, 2013

Lacerda helps Crowder reach national tournament

By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer

— Crowder College basketball coach Tina Robbins was expecting good things after seeing a video clip of Camila Lacerda.

Robbins hasn’t been disappointed.

“Honestly, she’s been a pleasant surprise,” Robbins said. “She’s been a great addition.”

Lacerda, a 5-foot-6 freshman from Brazil, moved into the point guard role for Crowder with the departure of two-year mainstay Jordan Hunter.

“She makes her teammates better,” Robbins said. “She passes the ball extremely well. She shows a lot of leadership. She’s a playmaker.”

Lacerda has helped Neosho-based Crowder reach the NJCAA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship at Salina (Kan.) in the Bicentennial Center.

Crowder (28-5), seeded 15th but ranked 14th in Division I by the NJCAA, faces 18th-seeded Redlands (21-9) of El Reno, Okla., at 6:30 p.m. on Monday in the 24-team event.

Robbins and assistant Melanie Bowers, rather than one at the controls, were relaxing in a Crossroads Travel charter on Saturday.

Lacerda, meanwhile, was revealing likes and dislikes about the USA.

“I don’t like American food,” Lacerda (the Crowder media guide tells us she likes pasta and beef) said.

A laughing Robbins’ translation: “She doesn’t like American food. But she likes American sweets ... especially cinnamon rolls.”

“Practices are hard because we run so much,” Lacerda said.

Said Robbins: “They don’t run — or practice — at 6:30 a.m. in Brazil.”

“I don’t like the cold weather at all,” Lacerda said.

Explained Robbins: “She’d rather run around the beaches in Rio de Janeiro.”

Lacerda does more than pass the ball, Robbins said, as evidenced by her averages of 11.1 points, 6.5 assists and 2.2 steals. She also has hit 35 of 104 treys.

Sadly, from the Crowder perspective, Lacerda has to move on because of her age, 23.

“She has a lot of opportunities and will play somewhere,” Robbins said.

Said Lacerda: “I have options. But right now I’m not sure.”

Joining Lacerda as probable starters for Crowder are 5-8 freshman Dorian Briggs, 5-7 sophomore Caprese Marshall, 5-10 sophomore Chloe Nichols and 5-11 sophomore Terai Sadler.

Completing the active roster are 6-0 sophomore Veronica Amos, 5-7 redshirt freshman Seleena Neal, 5-5 sophomore Caitlin Miller and 5-7 freshman Megan Ritter.

Veteran Sarah Sagely is out with an injury.

Sadler, who’s averaging 18.7 points and 9.2 rebounds, is shooting 57.7 percent from the field and 86 from the foul line on 245 of 285.

Scoring averages also include 6.9 for Briggs, 4.3 for Nichols, 10.4 for Marshall, 5 for Neal, 3.3 for Ritter and 10.5 for Amos (plus 7.2 rebounds).

Notes: Student assistants for Crowder, all from Missouri, are Stone Shewmake (Webb City), Wyatt Cross (El Dorado Springs), Kate Ridgeway (Richland) and Marcia Winston (Kennett). Also, trainer Jennifer Lallemand (wife of Crowder baseball coach Travis Lallemand) will be on the bench. ... Crowder’s third international player on the current team is 6-1 freshman red-shirt Thays Barbosa of Brazil.