Women's basketball 2016-17 preview

BREVARD, N.C. – The Brevard College Women’s Basketball team will begin their 2016-17 season under new head coach Donald Hudson this Saturday against Division I contender, UNC Greensboro. Hudson takes over the responsibilities after being the assistant coach the past three seasons. Taylor Hiatt returns to her alma mater as the women’s assistant coach. Hiatt graduated in 2014, where she was a three-year captain under former head coach Shannon Reid.

After a challenging season in 2015-16 in which Brevard finished 1-25 overall and 0-11 in the SAC, the Tornados will rely on preseason conditioning to help them through the 2016-17 season.

“This preseason we really put an emphasis on being in the best shape that we could possibly be in both mentally and physically,” said coach Hudson. “The girls were pushed to the limit, not for punishment purposes, but to get us ready to compete at a high level all season.”

Last season, Brevard had close games with conference opponents, Queens (62-60) and Lincoln Memorial (72-70). The Tornados had a nonconference win against Winston-Salem State on December 2, 2015, beating the Rams 69-65 in overtime.

The Tornados return five players from last year’s roster, and will also be relying on two transfers and a handful of freshmen to help them through a rigorous schedule in Brevard’s last year of Division II.

“The five returners that we have will be counted on heavily this season,” said Hudson. “They all have played meaningful minutes here at Brevard, and they understand what it means to be a part of this program. It is a group that I have been around and they know what I am looking for on a day to day basis. The upperclassmen really came out and set the tone early in preseason.”

Brevard will rely heavily on senior guard Madison Lenox (Raleigh, N.C.) who was selected to the preseason 2nd team all-conference last Thursday. Lenox averaged 15.8 points per game last season, and enters the 2016-17 season just 88 points shy of tying Samantha Winn as the all-time points leader in Brevard’s NCAA era. Senior forward Lynsey Crisp (Robbinsville, N.C.) and senior guard Kyley Clark (Chapel Hill, N.C.) will be called upon to help lead the young squad. Crisp saw action in all 26 games last season, and averaged 6.2 points per game. Junior Whitney DeMoss (Candler, N.C.) returns to help control the boards for the Tornados. The forward led the Tornados in total rebounds in 2015-16. Kelsie Rhyne (Taylorsville, N.C.) is back after providing Brevard with quality minutes last season.

The Tornados added two transfers that will be called on to make an impact for Brevard. Junior, Jade Napier (Rockwood, Tenn.), is transferring from Roane State where the guard helped Roane to a second place conference finish in 2015. Napier was the conference leader in steals and free throw percentage. Sophomore AnnaLee Bollinger (Hickory, N.C.) joins Brevard after playing one season at St. Joseph’s College in Indiana.

“We were able to sign two transfers this summer,” said Hudson. “They both have played at a high level and know what it takes to win in the college game. Jade and AnnaLee bring an element that all teams need to win, and both can handle the ball and score. They have really meshed well with the group, and I am excited to see the things they can do for us this season.”

In addition to the upperclassmen, the Tornados will add four freshmen to the roster Tameka Robinson (Fort Pierce, Fla.), D’Naya Wilson (Hampton, Ga.), Elaina Perez (Zephyerhills, Fla.), and Cienna Bryant (Roanoke, Va.) are learning how to adjust to the speed and strength that is required at the college level of play.

“The freshmen are talented and will definitely help us out, but the transition to this level is not always easy,” said Hudson. “The youthfulness and energy they bring to the team is much appreciated. It is a group that I am excited to watch grow together.”

Brevard opens up this Saturday, November 12, as they travel to Greensboro, N.C. to take on Division I opponent UNC Greensboro, beginning at 4 pm. Following the contest in Greensboro, the Tornados will have their first home game against Bob Jones University on November 15, at 6 pm. Brevard will have three non-conference games to help prepare them for their first SAC matchup against Tusculum on November 22.

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