Newest UA women’s basketball recruit is no pushover

UofA’s newest women’s basketball recruit has her own way of helping the Cats accelerate their rebuilding program, which just finished up a disappointing 13-16 campaign.

Taylor Dalrymple is just going to move the opponents out of the way.

Dalrymple is a 6’0″ power forward from Gulf Coast Community College in Panama, Fla., who signed her letter of intent last week.  She’s used to playing against girls taller than her, usually in the 6’2″ to 6’3″ neighborhood.  But she has her own way of handling that.

“Normally, when they’re bigger than me, they’re smaller than me,” she once told a newspaper reporter.

Huh?

“They might be taller than me,” she explained, “but, body size, smaller than me.  I can just move them out of the way, and there’s not much they can do to me.”

Dalrymple is a physical, high-energy type of player who served as the Lady Commodore’s center at Gulf Coast, which went 32-1 this season and won the NJCAA D-I national championship – the school’s third for the women’s basketball program.  That made her one of the smallest centers in the national tournament at the close of the season.

Her coach at Gulf Coast, Roonie Scovel, says her size can be deceiving, that she just “looks slow and soft”.  But Scovel also points out that she is the strongest one in the weight room, the strongest in the history of the program, in fact.

Dalrymple will help add the depth the team needs next year to make any real progress.  But she also brings another key to that success.  She has been an emotional leader for the Lady Commodores the past two years, bringing a vocal intensity to both practices and games.

She hates to lose, says Scovel.

That’s got to be music to the ears of Niya Butts, the Cats’ head coach who was hired away in 2008 from the University of Kentucky where she was an assistant, and assigned the task of rebuilding a once-proud program in Tucson.  She will enter next season with seven returning players that include the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, Davellyn Whyte.  The only freshman named to the All-conference list, Whyte led the team in scoring and set the single-game school scoring record with 39 points.

Butts will also be able to begin using Shanita Arnold, a redshirt junior guard who transferred in from University of Arkansas, and three additional recruits: Candice Warthen, Erica Barnes, and Kiante Ageous.

Warthen is a 5’5″ point guard from Georgia who averaged 25.6 points for her high school team in her junior year and was a 1st Team All-state pick.  Barnes is a 6’2″ forward from Sacramento who was rated the No. 23 forward by the Girls Basketball Report (GBR) going into her senior years, and Ageous is another guard who averaged 21 points for her Texas high school.

But Dalrymple, who is ranked the No. 3 junior college power forward by GBR, could be the real difference-maker.  She’s used to winning.

Winning has followed Dalrymple throughout her basketball career.  Gulf Coast won a national championship with her in the starting line-up, her high school was a three-time state champion, and her AAU team also won a national championship.

And now Coach Butts is hoping some of that rubs off on the Wildcat program.

(Photo: Gulf Coast CC Athletics)