Oklahoma City University will employ several multi-skilled athletes in an effort to contend in women’s basketball.
The Stars will be in their first season under coach Bo Overton. Oklahoma City has been picked to take second in the Sooner Athletic Conference and placed at seventh in the preseason top 25.
OCU comes off winning the previous two NAIA Division I championships to give the program eight national titles. The Stars were 30-2 with the SAC regular-season and tournament crowns. Oklahoma City tangles with 18th-ranked Langston at 1 p.m. Saturday in Langston, Okla., to start 2015-16.
Senior Forward Markeisha Johnson played a role on OCU’s 2014 national title team before sitting out most of last season, and Senior Forward Catherine Kruschke contributed to last season’s championship squad.
“I like the fact we have experience with Cat being a senior and Markeisha being a senior,” said Overton. “That gives us a good base to work from. You throw in talented players with that experience, and it gives you a chance to win.”
Johnson displayed an improved game until injuries halted her season. Johnson posted 6.1 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.86 steals a game in 2014-15.
“I like the way she leads,” Overton said. “I’m looking forward to getting her on the floor and seeing what she can do to help us.”
Kruschke provides the Stars with an inside presence with the ability to shoot around the floor.
“She has experience,” Overton said of Kruschke. “She knows how hard you have to work. She’s a good leader with these young players we have. We’re lucky to have somebody like that who’s been here.”
Overton was head coach in the Chinese professional leagues just before he arrived at OCU. He was on the coaching staff for the Chinese Olympic team in 2012 and brings head-coaching experience in the pro ranks in Russia and the U.S..
“I am very excited to be coming to such a great university like OCU,” Overton said when he was hired to guide the Stars. “Having grown up in Oklahoma, I am very familiar with the great tradition of all sports at OCU.”