Today we begin our 13-part series we call Comings and Goings that allows us to take a look at roster changes, both hellos and goodbyes, for each of the state's team.
We start with Old Dominion, which finished 21-13 a year ago, falling in the second round of the WNIT.
Departing seniors: Tiffany Minor, F; Chelisa Painter, F
Also not returning: Ashley Betz-White, G (redshirt junior graduated in May and has moved to Tampa for a job in pharmaceuticals)
Transfers: Maia Lee, F (headed for Towson, has 3 years eligibility beginning in 2016-17)
Minor and Painter had almost identical stat lines as seniors, each averaging just over 7 points and 4 rebounds. Minor was perhaps most valuable on defense and actually led the team in minutes played. Painter's offense was in spurts, and she will be particularly missed as a rebounder. Betz-White, meanwhile, was the most capable ballhandler on a team that suddenly is without a known quantity at point guard (Galaisha Goodhope would be a senior this year but was dismissed from the team and will play at VCU this fall).
The 6-3 Lee played a total of 23 minutes as a freshman and will sit out a year before getting a shot to play for one of the most promising coaches in the game in Niki Reid Geckeler, who led Howard to back-to-back 20-win seasons before taking over as Tigers coach in 2013.
Gianna Smith, 5-10 G/F, Norfolk (Lake Taylor)
- 16.2 points, 11.2 rebounds, 3.2 steals, 2.8 assists as a senior
- First-team All-Tidewater by The Virginian-Pilot
- First Team All-State
Rhaven Kemp, 5-6 G, Jackson, Tenn. (Eastern Florida State Junior College)
- 3.4 ppg and 1.3 apg as a sophomore
- All-time assist leader at Liberty Tech High (571)
Carolina Bernardeco, 5-4 G, Lisbon, Portugal
- 17-year-old who played point guard for U-18, U-16 Portuguese national team
Makayla Timmons, 5-7 G, Columbia, Tenn. (Columbia Central)
- All-time leading scorer (1,640 points); also holds school records in high jump and long jump
- MVP of her district as a senior
- Second team All-USA Tennessee
- Played for four different coaches in high school
Aneesah Daniels, 6-0 F, Decatur, Ga., (Clemson, Alabama)
- Redshirt senior who is immediately eligible as she graduated from Clemson in May. Has not played since the 2011-12 season at Alabama; scored 7 points and 6 rebounds for Alabama in Paradise Jam (Virgin Islands) game against the Lady Monarchs -- which was Karen Barefoot's first victory at ODU; Never played at Clemson after sitting out a year and being sidelined the following year with a neck injury
Assistant coach Jermaine Woods replacing Richard Fortune, now at VCU. Norfolk native Woods comes to ODU from Virginia Tech and will be reunited with Smith, who played her first three years at Maury High where he was coach.
Karen Barefoot's collection of guards looks impressive on paper, but we give the nod to Kemp to get the early playing time given her junior college experience. While her numbers don't overwhelm, she came off the bench, saving her best game for postseason -- an 18-point effort in the NJCAA Region VIII tournament. She will be a junior and could challenge sophomore Ashley Jackson for point guard.
The ODU faithful with Ticha memories still lingering fondly in their minds will clamor to see Bernardeco, but adjusting to the American game will be part of her learning curve. Smith and Timmons both come in as promising freshmen on a team that needs to find somebody besides Jennie Simms to share the offensive load. Given Daniels has only one year, she's the logical choice, but conditioning will be key as she's sat out for three seasons.
Note: Tyshara Fleming, the 6-4 center from Virginia Beach's Salem High, who went to Northwest Florida State College in 2013 with the intent of transferring to ODU in two years, committed to Florida in January. She averaged 7 points and 7 rebounds in one year of junior college play.