Coming off a stronger-than-expected inaugural outing in their first Southland Conference season -- barely missing a berth in the SLC tournament after being projected to finish last in the conference -- the HBU Huskies women's basketball program has added a player that they hope will propel them even further in the upcoming season.
HBU head women’s basketball coach Donna Finnie has announced the signing of Caro Lloyd, a native of Dublin, Ireland, to a National Letter of Intent to play for the Huskies in 2014-15.
"Caro is a great find for us as she is a very long and athletic forward,” said Finnie in a statement released by HBU's athletic department. “Her national team coach, James Weldon, was the one who alerted us to her and we were immediately impressed by her upside."
Lloyd played for the Irish U18 National Team from 2012-14. Last season in international play, she had two triple-doubles (blocks, points, and rebounds) and scored a game-high 19 points in a win over Belgium. She registered seven blocked shots in a victory over Sweden.
At 6'4", she could give HBU a physical presence unlike any they have had in recent years.
"She is very quick laterally for her size and can get out and pressure defensively, which, with her length, will be a huge asset for us,” noted Finnie. “She has had numerous triple-doubles (points, rebounds, and blocks) in the last two seasons with her national and club team, and changing opponents’ shots with her length will prove challenging for other teams."
Finnie does anticipate some challenges for Lloyd in making the transition to a more physical style of play that the Southland Conference is known for. But the Huskies head coach says that the staff is excited about her upside and what the coach calls "a tremendous appetite to learn".
“We are confident she can be a big presence for us at both ends of the floor," she stated.
For her part, Lloyd said that Houston Baptist's growing reputation as a place where international -- and specifically, European -- players and play at the Division I level and grow their games in the process factored into her decision to sign with the Huskies.
“I chose HBU because it felt right on my visit and it was good to know other girls had made the transition from Europe,” said Lloyd.
The 2013-14 roster included four players from Europe: Wiebke Bruns (Germany), Maisie Elston (England), Erin McGarrachan (Scotland), and Heidi Sihvola (Finland).
HBU finished the season with a 12-17 record, equaling their combined win totals from the previous three seasons.
The Huskies also wound up in an eighth-place three-way tie with Sam Houston State and Oral Roberts University in SLC play. Oral Roberts earned the eighth and final Southland Conference Tournament berth by virtue of tie-breaker advantages over HBU and SHSU.