Jessica Halsig can't hide the joy in her voice. The formula for her happiness is so basic it almost makes her laugh.
Home + Basketball = Happy.
"Home is where the heart is, right?" said Halsig, a former Bishop Carroll and Barton Count standout. "Of all my years playing this has probably been my favorite team to be on so far. On and off the court it's been awesome."
The 5-foot-11 guard/forward transferred to Friends from Division I UMKC — where she started five games last year — for her senior season and will be the go-to player for the Falcons, at least for the first semester, as all-KCAC honorable mention pick and all-KCAC defensive performer Tavi Polley-Davis sits out the first semester to clear up academic issues.
Polley-Davis, a 5-7 shooting guard, averaged 12.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3 steals last season.
"We'll have to adapt to some new things, but we're going to do good," Halsig said. "We'll be better with (Tavi), but we'll fight through it."
Halsig's assimilation into the Friends program has been a boon for eighth-year coach Gayla Soyez.
"Jessica is just a great, coachable kid," Soyez said. "She's very competitive and she can play anywhere from the two to the four. There's even a chance that she might play a little point guard."
Senior Alyson Snell, a Goddard product, has been impressive as the Falcons' starting point guard in the preseason, stepping in for Megan VinZant, a first-team all-KCAC selection.
"Alyson has really got into our system and done well," Soyez said.
Snell, Bre Selves, Mary O'Nelio and Calli Mathews should round out the starting five with Halsig, at least for now.
"We can look at our situation two ways," Soyez said. "First, we might be a little slow out of the gate. Second, even with what we're missing, we could still be really good."