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Clemons makes run at Miss Basketball

Ben Davis guard Bria Goss would seem to be the frontrunner for Miss Basketball.

Goss has put up the numbers -- she averages about 20 points per game -- but also has the benefit of playing on perhaps the state's best team.

Ben Davis has won back-to-back Class 4A titles and hasn't lost this season.

But don't forget about Snider senior and Purdue commit Liza Clemons, her coach said.

"Liza can bring the whole package," Panthers coach Ryan Gould said during an interview this week for a story on Clemons, which will be in Monday's paper.

"She's rebounding, averages about 12 per game. She's been our leading scorer all season, at about 16 points per game right now, and she's averaging about five blocked shots per game. So she really makes an impact at both ends of the floor. As far as ability, she's a great athlete, so she's able to control the paint on both ends."

Clemons has tried to balance helping Snider win this season with improving her individual skills in preparation for playing with the Boilermakers next season.

Purdue assistant coach Nadine Morgan was at Snider's game against Bishop Luers last week and saw Clemons get held to only seven points when the Knights employed what appeared to be a box-and-one defense.

Morgan and Clemons had a long chat on the phone after the game, Clemons' mom Elena Catalan said.

One point of emphasis: Morgan wanted Clemons to shoot more.

But Clemons told me she doesn't like "ball-hogging."

"I don't like shooting the ball without passing it first," she said. "I like to get my teammates shots. When I see they're not falling or when we're starting to lose the game, that's when I try to bring us back."

Still, she said she's been working on improving her offensive game for Purdue.

She said she's working on developing a left-handed hook shot.

She's trying to get to the basket off the dribble more from the top of the key.

She said she's starting to hit some jumpers.

"They're not always on," she said of her jumpers. "They tell me I can shoot it, but I'm not like that."

It'll be interesting, then, to see Purdue's directives for Clemons when she comes to campus this summer. Clemons clearly has a good skill level and athleticism. She's a great rebounder -- with a nose for it and the aggressiveness to go get it -- and shot blocker.

Purdue coach Sharon Versyp said on signing day that Clemons' potential is "off the chart."

  • Clemons has attended several Purdue games this season and is hoping to score not only tickets for the women's game against Ohio State on Feb. 20 but also the men's game before it. Clemons is a good friend of Luers grad and current Buckeye Deshaun Thomas.
  • Clemons has said repeatedly she feels comfortable with the players and coaching staff at Purdue. Catalan loves the mix, too.

    "Liza's AAU coach is a very wise man, and he once told me that recruiting is more like dating. They're going to tell you all these things you want to hear. They're going to court you and you have to pick the ones you think are genuine. I got that from Purdue's staff," Catalan said. "I could feel the family atmosphere, the way they interacted with the kids they had there and the parents and even the siblings of the players. Just from seeing all that not once, twice, three times, but every single time I went down there with Liza, it was the same. They never backed down. I loved it."