All the subs have played at least 24 minutes this year. Normally, the freshmen would have been eased into action, but all four showed up ready to compete right away.
“I’m really, really fortunate to have so many players I can put in a game. But what we really need to do is have someone separate themselves,” Merriweather said.
“It’s all like Kumbaya right now, and everybody gets an opportunity here and there. But honestly, we need more who are going to come off the bench and really step up and give us a punch on both ends. That’s what I’d like to see.”
Merriweather wants to pare the rotation to nine at least by the start of the Horizon League games Dec. 28. There likely will be fewer minutes for subs when the conference season arrives because the Raiders will lean more on their starters.
Welch made the all-tournament team at the Savannah Invitational last week as the Raiders beat Stetson and Richmond and dropped a tight game to Providence. The senior guard scored 59 total points, but she wasn’t the only standout.
Smith had two games with double-figure points and rebounds, Simmons had a 15-rebound outing, Vogelpohl had an 18-point night, and Taylor amassed 36 points.
“Lexi had a bone bruise and missed three weeks, but she just keeps getting better and better,” Merriweather said. “Emily really pushes the ball in transition and does some really good things on the offensive end. Mackenzie went 4-for-4 on 3-pointers one game. And Symone is only 5-8, but she’s a rebounding terror.”
The Raiders are a few possessions away from being 6-0. They lost by two at No. 19 Missouri and by five to Providence, which is 4-2.
Those games would have helped in building an NCAA tourney resume, but they still have enough quality opponents left to potentially accomplish that.
After home games at 7 p.m. Friday against Tennessee Tech and 2 p.m. Sunday against Chicago State, the Raiders have upcoming clashes with 6-0 Georgia and Ohio Valley Conference favorite Belmont on the road.
“Could we build a case, especially with our conference being a little tougher? Possibly,” Merriweather said. “Obviously, it would have helped a lot to beat Missouri and Providence, but we’re not giving up hope. Georgia and Belmont are really good. If we can manage to pull those out, we’ll see how it goes.”