As Southland Conference women’s basketball action heats up this week, Sam Houston junior post player Angela Beadle has stepped forward as one of the league’s leaders in both scoring and rebounding.
Beadle owns averages of 15.1 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. Those marks rank her in the top 10 in scoring and tops in the Southland in total boards.
The Austin Crockett High School product has become a physical presence under the basket with her ability to power her way to the hoop for shots and pull down big rebounds.
But Beadle hasn’t always been an inside force.
In fact, she admits that it took lots of pushing from the coaching staff and hard work to make the change.
“In high school, I played forward and my sister, Heather played underneath at center,” Beadle said. “Back then, I liked to face up and shoot from the high post. The coaches here at Sam had to work with me a lot to get me to play a more physical style.”
Last March, Beadle became only the fourth Sam Houston women’s basketball player to earn All-Southland Conference Tournament honors.
She scored 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds in Sam Houston’s 67-61 semifinal victory over Lamar that put the Bearkats in the league post-season finals for the first time in school history.
SHSU head coach Brenda Nicholls, the first Bearkat woman to earn Southland All-Tournament honors (in 1987), is excited about the progress her junior center has made.
Nicholls earned 2013 Southland Conference “Coach of the Year” honors after directing the Kats to the program’s first Southland women’s basketball championship.
“Angela spends every day trying to get better,” Nichols said. “We lost 65 percent of our scoring from the championship team last year, so we really came into this year looking forward to seeing what kind of personality this year’s team would take on.”
Nicholls, her staff and the team have adopted “Over the Top” as their motto for the 2013-14 season.
“We’re all in the trenches together just like in World War I. And to win, we’ve got to go over the top, with everyone fighting together,” Nicholls said. “The team is spending every day trying to get better."
Beadle and senior guard Jasmine Johnson are the only two returning starters from the 2013 championship team that completed the year leading Sam Houston to a berth in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT).
“We know it’s going to take a team effort for us to be successful,” Beadle said. “We each have a role to fill. We need to be consistent. We can’t play in spurts. We have to stay in the game.”
Beadle scored in double figures in 10 of Sam Houston’s 11 non-conference games in November and December.
She earned Southland Conference “Player of the Week” honors after scoring a career high 30 points in an overtime victory at Rice and 15 more in a win at Missouri-Kansas City. The junior pulled down double figure boards in five non-conference contests including a career mark of 19 in a victory over Louisiana-Lafayette.
“I’ve developed a love for going inside and finding contact,” Beadle said. “Rebounding is about who wants it more. Coach preaches boxing out and rebounding every day."
After Beadle’s junior year at Crocket high school, her sister Heather signed with Campbell University in North Carolina, a member of the Big South Conference. Angela hoped to join her sister there but the Camels decided they didn’t need another forward. So she looked elsewhere for a college home.
“I didn’t know much about Sam Houston when they started recruiting me,” Angela said. “But, when I came for a visit, I really liked the campus and the people here. I came on homecoming. It was so exciting and the coaches and players really make it such a family atmosphere.”
Beadle emphasizes that the family feeling extends beyond women’s basketball to the entire athletic program.
“Everyone on our basketball team loves to get together as a squad and support the other sports,” Beadle said. “It’s fun to sit together as a group and cheer on the other teams. When we’re on the road for conference doubleheaders, we’re always begging the coaches to let us stay until halftime to root for the men’s basketball team.”
A kinesiology major, Beadle is interested in either going into coaching or physical therapy after earning her Sam Houston degree.
Right now, however, is working with her teammates to keep Sam Houston find continued success in the Southland Conference.
The Bearkats play host to McNeese State Thursday and Nicholls State on Saturday in Sam Houston’s first Southland Conference home games on the 2014 schedule.