Women?s Basketball Begins Practice Friday
The Georgia Southern Women’s Basketball team is looking to replace 45% of their scoring from last season, despite only losing one starter from a year ago.
The Lady Eagles return four starters including: Senior Ashley Melson (Newnan, Ga.), Junior Jessica Geiger (Stone Mountain, Ga.), Junior Carolyn Whitney (Duluth, Ga.) and Junior J'Lisia Ogburn (Dublin, Ga.).
Melson is the top returning scorer from last season. She averaged 9.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg and 1.2 apg a year ago. She played in all 30 games last season and started 22 of them. Ashley also scored in the double digits 15 times.
Geiger and Ogburn return in the post for
Former SoCon freshman of the year, Carolyn Whitney (Duluth, Ga.) is back for her junior campaign. She was down in scoring by almost 3 ppg last season but improved her field goal percentage from .293 to .320 and her three-point percentage from .288 to .371. Whitney will need to step up and help fill the scoring hole left by Atwood and Brown.
Whitney has yet to complete a season due to season ending injuries in both her freshman and sophomore campaigns. The Lady Eagles will need her to remain healthy in order to provide experienced depth to this year’s team.
The Lady Eagles welcome six freshmen to this year’s team and will need some of them to step up and contribute immediately.
Freshman forwards Dawnieka Green (Ellenwood, Ga.), Candice Ivy (Roswell, Ga.) and Ashley McKenzie (Loganville, Ga.) will be asked to make an immediate impact this season. The Lady Eagles only return two post players and will rely on these freshmen to add depth in the paint.
Green was named the best rebounder and best post player at
Ivy was a first team all-region and all-Fulton County player at
“Candice is a swing post player for us and can play the three or four spot. She runs and jumps well and will bring athleticism to the team,” said Coach Cram.
McKenzie averaged 14.5 rebounds per game her junior season at
The freshman guards will bring size to the program. Both Britney Nelson (Rochester, Mich.) and Krista Tate (Atlanta, Ga.) stand at six feet tall. Also joining the team at guard is Samantha Williams (Kingsport, Tenn.) who stands at five foot nine.
Nelson set 14 school records at
Tate helped lead St. Pius X Catholic High School to back-to-back 30 win seasons and two state championships. She was named to the Atlanta Tip Off Club three times in her high school career.
Williams scored 1600 points and pulled down 800 rebounds during her career at
The Lady Eagles will face a tough non-conference schedule in order to better prepare themselves for conference play.
“The schedule is a typical Georgia Southern Women’s Basketball schedule,” said Coach Cram. “We like to go after four or five major teams. We have six freshmen coming in here, and the way to get them seasoned is time and by playing some of the better competition you can play against.”
The biggest name on that schedule is Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish’s season ended in the Sweet Sixteen after losing to the eventual National Champion,
“We are trying to broaden their [The Lady Eagles] horizons and let them see what is really out there,” said Coach Cram. “There is such great tradition and history at Notre Dame. It will be a trip these girls will never forget. When you play against Notre Dame, you are playing against the best. They are going to expose our weaknesses and expose them early so that we have time to work on them before we get hard into the conference schedule.”
The second biggest name on the schedule is the Auburn Tigers out of the Southeastern Conference. They will travel to Statesboro in mid-November to face the Lady Eagles.
“Playing this type of school gets us ready for conference play, and if we get to the NCAA tournament these are the type of teams that we are going to play anyway,” said Coach Cram on facing an SEC foe.
The Lady Eagles will be participating in the Florida International Tournament in
“The Florida International Tournament is a very strong tournament. Eastern Carolina and Florida International both are very good quality programs, but the best team in the tournament is Marist, who has been in the top 10 or top 20 the last couple of years and are a very solid ball club,” said Coach Cram.
The Lady Eagles open up the season at home in Hanner Fieldhouse against Brewton Parker November the 15th at 1 p.m.
- Category: Women's Basketball
- Published on Wednesday, 15 October 2008 00:08