NASHVILLE – With only 20 days until the first exhibition game against Freed Hardeman and just under a month until the regular season opener at home on November 13 versus Loyola (MD), the Lipscomb women’s basketball team started practice this week with plenty of excitement for the upcoming season.
“We’re excited. I’m excited,” women’s basketball coach Greg Brown said. “It’s been a good first week of practice.
“It hasn’t been perfect. Thursday was a little sloppy at times, which is what you expect the first week, but the energy level, the intensity and the hustle plays were there. And that’s what you look for because you’re going to have to learn how to play through mistakes. It’s exciting, as a coach, to see their energy levels so high early on.”
The Lady Bisons, who have improved every year during Brown’s three-year tenure, return two starters and several letter winners from last season’s 8-21 squad. Despite the relatively shrunken size of the overall roster, including losing starters Sara Bliss and Danay Fothergill to graduation, Brown believes that this is the deepest pool of talent he has had in his four years at Lipscomb.
“As we told them, the roster may be small, but our depth is the most depth we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Brown said. “We have ten players, but all ten are ready to go. We’ve gotten tons of reps. The quality of teaching has been great. They’re all excited to step in and contribute.”
There are three seniors among the returning players from last season’s roster, Ashley Southern, Kelli Smith and Chandler Cooper, and Brown expects the three of them to step up as leaders for a young group of girls.
“I think you always start with your seniors as potential leaders for the team,” Brown said. “They’ve been very vocal in what we’re doing, and they lead by example. They play very hard, and they’re to the point now where they have been here long enough that they can teach the younger players. That’s what you look for in the rookie-vet relationships.”
“It definitely feels different being in a leadership role,” Ashley Southern said. “I think our mentality is different. We realize we have one year left to play, one year left to do what we really want to do.”
Incoming freshmen Jess Davies and Morgan Turner are both expected to make an immediate impact. Davies, who suited up for the English U21 National Women’s Basketball Team over the summer, and Turner, who competed in the Kentucky-Indiana All-Star Classic in June, both bring significant basketball experience with them.
“They bring a lot of energy first of all,” Brown said. “Both of them bring varied experiences. Morgan brings a lot of toughness, and the ability to get to the rim. Jess brings international experience, and some skill. They’re both 6-2 and long, so you don’t have worry about coaching length.”
As the season quickly approaches, the players and staff are all anxious to see all the hard work they have put in this offseason show out on the court.
“I’m excited for it to get started,” Southern said. “And to see how we work together. I’m ready to just get out there and play.”