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Published 10/29/2004

Owens Women's Basketball Hosts Delta College In Season Opener, Nov. 6

Owens Community College women's basketball will open its 2004-05 season against Delta College at 6 p.m. on Saturday, November 6.

All home games are played at the College's Student Health and Activities Center (SHAC) on the Toledo-area Campus. Owens is located on Oregon Road, four miles from downtown Toledo. Admission to home games is free.

The Express women's basketball program is led by Head Coach Michael Llanas of Toledo. He joins the College with over 19 years of coaching experience at various levels. Since 1997, he has served as head AAU basketball coach for Team Sports Rockers Basketball/Team Ohio. Earlier this year he led Team Ohio to the AAU Junior Olympic Games in Des Moines, Iowa, reaching the sweet sixteen and compiling a 4-4 overall record.

Prior to Team Sports Rockers Basketball/Team Ohio, he was the varsity girl's head basketball coach at Elmwood High School from 1995-97. During his two-year tenure, Llanas accumulated a 20-25 overall record. He previously has held varsity assistant coaching positions at Elmwood and Gibsonburg high schools. His Assistant Coaches are Greg Noftz of Elmore and Christa Strube of Monroe, Michigan, a former Express basketball player (2000-02).

The Express completed last season with a 24-11 overall record and a 9-5 mark (fourth place) in the Ohio Community College Athletic Conference regular season standings. The team made its fourth trip to the NJCAA Division II National Championship, finishing ninth in the tournament. Owens was ranked as high as No. 7 in the NJCAA Division II women's basketball poll.

"We have a great group of student-athletes on this year's basketball squad," Llanas said. "Each team member is very unselfish and willing to do whatever it takes for us to have another winning season."

Llanas added, "Our program has a very experienced group of players returning from a team which advanced to the National Championship Tournament. Their veteran leadership will play an important role in how our season unfolds. This team has a great opportunity to once again compete for an OCCAC Championship and advance to the NJCAA nationals. The only way we can achieve our goals is by playing each game one at a time."

In addition, the Owens women's basketball program has earned the distinction of being ranked No. 20 in the NJCAA Division II preseason poll. Monroe Community College in Rochester, New York, received the No. 1 ranking.

The Express have five returning players from last year's team, including OCCAC Second Team All-Conference and OCCAC Academic All-Conference selection Niccole Brown of Toledo (Central Catholic High School). Last year, the sophomore forward/center averaged 13 points and 11 rebounds. In addition, her postseason honors included being named to the NJCAA Division II National Championship All-Tournament Team and Owens' Most Valuable Player.

Owens also returns NJCAA Division II Academic All-American Sarah Johnson of Sylvania (Northview High School). The sophomore forward averaged 3.5 points and 2.5 rebounds in 2003-04. An OCCAC Academic All-Conference selection, Johnson was also chosen as Owens' Coaches Award recipient.

The other three returning student-athletes are Katie McClure of Liberty Center (Liberty Center High School), Heather Peer of Ypsilanti, Michigan (Ann Arbor Huron High School) and Caroline Eboumbou of Toledo (Rudolph Steiner High School). McClure, a sophomore guard, averaged 6 points, 2 steals and 1.5 assists. Last season, Peer, a sophomore guard, earned OCCAC Academic All-Conference honors and averaged 3.5 points and 1.5 assists. In 2003-04, Eboumbou was selected as the team's Most Improved Player and was named OCCAC Academic All- Conference. The sophomore forward averaged 1 point and 1 rebound.

First-year players to the Express women's basketball program are Kira Sayles of Toledo, guard (Start High School); Kristen Hammer of Fremont, guard (Fremont Ross High School); Jessie Murcko of Defiance, forward (Tinora High School); Misti Horton of Toledo, guard (Woodward High School); Sashay Price of Fremont, guard/forward (Fremont Ross High School); Williams of Toledo, guard/forward (Start High School); Bridget Buss of Toledo, guard (Whitmer High School), and Kelly McPherson of Northwood, guard/forward (Lake High School).

Owens Community College is the fastest-growing higher educational institution in Ohio with 29 consecutive semesters of enrollment increases. On the Toledo-area and Findlay-area campuses, Owens serves more than 44,000 credit and non-credit students, making it the number-one choice for new college students. Owens is committed to providing small classes, personal attention and unmatched affordability. Owens Community College offers over 130 program areas in Agriculture, Business, Fine and Performing Arts, Health, Public Service, Skilled Trades, Industrial and Engineering Technologies. Owens students also can earn the first two years of a bachelor's degree with a smooth transfer to any area four-year college or university.


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