The North Greenville Women's Basketball Team starts its 2015-2016 season tonight at the University of North Georgia. This year the Crusaders will be welcoming six new freshman along with the eight returners. Only one starter will be back from last year's 12-17 overall season.
With last year's Conference Carolina's Freshman of the Year, Cortney Williams being out for the season with ACL surgery, junior guard Emily Wampler is the Crusaders' lone returning starter. Wampler will be looking to improve on her 2015 season in which she set a school record with 130 assists. With no seniors on the team, the Crusaders will be looking at her for a lot of leadership this year. "Emily stepped into a leadership role for us last season and even some as as a freshman," remarked head coach Jayne Arledge. "She's somebody that has the ability to lead others, but she also leads herself on and off the court. Emily will be a key piece of our success beyond her production," said Ross Jolly.
The Crusaders have a total of three sophomores this year. Paulette Addison and Erika Cobb both played in all 29 games last season, averaging around 15 minutes per game. Last season, Addison was second in the team with a total of 15 blocks. Guard Cameron Carter played in 27 contests last season and averaged 20 minutes per game.
Coach Arledge will be looking to her newcomers for a lot of help as well. Center Ty Broadwater is going to play a big role for the Crusaders with her athleticism. The Crusaders will also look toward some of the newcomers to help improve the team's three-point shooting (33% from beyond the arc in 2015). "Our freshmen do not have the luxury to come in, sit behind seniors and juniors, and learn from them. They will be playing immediately, and that is what we recruited them to do."
"We are very excited about what they are able to do on the court, but we also have to remind ourselves that they are still freshmen. One positive is that they will get a ton of experience that will help prepare them going into conference play and also into their sophomore year." Along with six new freshmen, NGU will get some help from Khara Herring who returns from a injury that sidelined her during the 2014-2015 slate of games.
"We are optimistic about this season. There are a few question marks, but we certainly have the talent to be competitive. With only three juniors and no seniors, we will be one of the youngest teams in the country. Going forward, we hope that this season will start an upward trend in our program's championship goals."
The Crusaders will open their season tonight versus the University of North Georgia in the Conference Carolinas/Peach Belt Conference Challenge. The Crusaders and Nighthawks will tipoff at 6pm.