Shante Evans was a major force for the Pride last season. The junior forward averaged 18.4 points and 11 rebounds and was an AP All-American honorable mention selection last year.
She won’t be alone this season. Senior center Marie Malone returns after missing the bulk of last season with a knee injury. The 6-2 senior averaged 12.2 points and 6.8 rebounds through the Pride’s first four games.
Malone is back and Pride coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey couldn’t be happier. “It’s going to help. It’s going to give Shante more room,” said Steveskey, whose squad went 19-12 last year. “We were one player short after Marie went down last year.”
Steveskey also raved about JUCO transfer Deven Green. Steveskey believes Green, a 5-11 transfer from Monroe CC, will take some of the defensive and rebounding pressure off Evans’ back.
That won’t stop Evans from going after every rebound, though. “Shante’s not going to stop working, but it’s going to give a lot more working room,” Steveskey said. “And I’m sure everyone is fearing that.”
In addition to the return of Bond and Malone, Evans will represent the US in the Women’s Pan American Games later this month. It’s an experience she believes will give her a leg up once the college season starts.
“It’s definitely going to help me,” said Evans. “Playing against Argentina and Mexico, they use professional players. So I’m going to be playing at a level up and that will help me when I get back.”
Evans also talked about the positive psychological effect playing for Team USA will have on her. “I’ll definitely have a little bit of an edge,” Evans said. “Just to say I’m playing for Team USA is going to help me confidence-wise.”