Lineberry quits Lady Tops, depletes front line

Michael Casagrande

Western’s lack of depth and height took a hit Tuesday with the loss of a key senior.

Forward Leah Lineberry left the team following Western’s 67-65 loss to Arkansas last night, coach Mary Taylor Cowles said.

Cowles met with Lineberry on Monday concerning her future with the team. Lineberry called Cowles the following day to tell her she was leaving the team.

The loss of one of her tallest players came as a surprise, but the team will move on, Cowles said.

“We are not going to sit around and think about it and think about it,” Cowles said. “We are going to go with the nine players that we’ve got because they are pretty good players. We will make the best of it. We will continue to learn and continue to get better and we will continue to play the 22 games that are left on the schedule.”

Without Lineberry, Cowles is left with nine players on the active roster. Western captured the Sun Belt Conference title last season with a similar nine-player roster.

Lineberry had seen limited playing time this season, averaging only 14 minutes per game. The 6-foot-2 forward was averaging 2.8 points and 2.8 rebounds in the first four games of the season.

Senior guard Leslie Logsdon said the team knew Lineberry was thinking about quitting the team, but were still a little surprised when the word came Tuesday.

Logsdon said Lineberry set a good example for the younger players, and her leadership will be missed.

“She was a big leader,” Logsdon said, “since she helped out Elisha (Ford) with the leadership roles on the team, but we can’t look down on her or anybody else.”

With Lineberry out of the picture, a sophomore, Krystal Gardner, and two freshmen, Carla Bartee and Charlotte Marshall, will have to handle the post.

Sophomore guard Tiffany Porter-Talbert said the three remaining post players have played well so far this season. She said she expects them to improve in the future.

“They just have to step up,” Porter-Talbert said. And I think they have stepped up to the plate.”

Lineberry could not be reached for comment.

Reach Michael Casagrande at [email protected].