The Lipscomb women’s basketball team hasn’t had a winning record since the 2003-04 season, when the Bisons went 20-12 and advanced to the NCAA tournament. That isn’t keeping sixth-year head coach Greg Brown from pointing out the positives – even if his team went 6-24 last year.
Lipscomb had 10 new players on its roster in 2016-17, including six true freshmen and four transfers.
“You go from 10 newcomers last year and having to introduce everything, but now they know what’s going on,” Brown said. “It makes things easier and the players know what to expect as far as travel and game preparation go.”
This year’s roster features seven seniors and a wealth of experience. Brown hopes that will help the Bisons improve, despite being picked to finish last in the ASUN.
“We have to do three simple things defensively: keep the ball out of the paint, contest shots and block out,” Brown said of the team’s keys to success. “I feel good about our shooting, so we just need to take care of the ball and get some [defensive] stops.”
Five things to watch this season:
- Coaching staff shakeup
Lipscomb overhauled its coaching staff with the additions of new assistants in Hannah Phillips and Aaron Holland. Phillips played for the Bisons from 2009-13 and briefly played professionally in Australia following her collegiate career. Holland was the head coach at Motlow State Community College before joining the Lipscomb staff this offseason.
“We’ve had more energy and the players have enjoyed having [the new coaches],” Brown said. “Both coaches bring tons of energy to what we’re doing and we needed that.”
- New additions to roster
Freshman Taylor Clark (Lawrenceburg) and Kansas State transfer Anna Hammaker (Knoxville) both provide a shot in the arm for the Bisons. Hammaker will sit out due to NCAA transfer rules, but Brown said he expects Clark to be a key contributor.
“(Hammaker) has Big 12 experience, so she’s a great addition to practice,” Brown said. “Taylor brings a sense of toughness. She does so many different things well and has great poise for a freshman.”
- Jones on verge of breaking out?
Brown keyed in on Loshaveon Jones as a potential breakout star. Jones joined the Bisons last season after transferring from Daytona State, and she will be in the starting lineup for Lipscomb this weekend.
“In our two scrimmages, [Jones] did very well, and she’s also been consistent every day in practice,” Brown said. “She feeling comfortable, and we’re excited about that.”
- Cagle primed for final lap
Senior guard Loren Cagle appears to be ready for another big season as she was selected to the Preseason ASUN All-Conference team. The Nashville native was also named to the watch list for the Nancy Liebermann Award, given annually to the nation’s best point guard. Cagle was on the watch list last season and went on to lead the Bisons with 176 total assists.
“[Cagle] continues to lead and be patient on and off the floor,” Brown said. “[The Nancy Liebermann Award] is a tremendous award, and to be nominated for it two years in a row shows the respect she has earned.”
- How will Lipscomb start its season?
The Bisons will begin their season with two games in Charleston, South Carolina, this weekend. College Charleston is first on the docket on Friday at 10 a.m., and Lipscomb will take on Charleston Southern on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Projected starting lineup (2016-17 statistics shown)
G – Loren Cagle (29 games started, 268 points, 176 assists, 155 rebounds)
G – Lexi Manos (8 GS, 34 PTS, 43 AST, 32 REB)
G – Kennedy Potts (19 GS, 117 PTS, 26 AST, 63 REB)
F – Loshaveon Jones (4 GS, 177 pts, 13 AST, 100 REB)
F – Emily Kmec (Did not play – Redshirt)
Nov. 21 vs. Murray State 6:30 p.m. (Home opener)
Dec. 4 vs. Belmont 5 p.m.
Dec. 7 vs. Alabama 6:30 p.m.
Dec. 28 at Vanderbilt 7 p.m.
Jan. 20 vs. Stetson 1:30 p.m. (ASUN opener)
Feb. 24 vs. Kennesaw St. 4 p.m. (Final home game)
Photo courtesy of Lipscomb Athletics