by Brian DeCandia, sports information graduate assistant
MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. – The Georgia College women’s basketball program plans to mix in the old with the new this season, as the Bobcats welcome new head coach Maurice Smith to take the helm. Returning are eight Bobcats from a team that finished first in the Peach Belt Conference (PBC) West Division, 21-8 (13-4 PBC), including former All-PBC Second Team and Tournament Team selection Chimere Jordan (Gray, Ga.).
“I am very excited about this season,” said Smith. “I feel like all of the pieces are in place to make a run this season. We understand it is going to be a process of commitment, work ethic and the right team attitude. If we can demonstrate these intangibles there is no doubt in my mind that we will be successful as a team.”
“I am excited about our coaching staff. Coach Toby Wagoner and coach Liz Hathaway are doing a great job. We all work well together and have a good repore with the girls. From top to bottom we feel like we have the right pieces to the puzzle.”
The Bobcats welcome back four seniors to the roster this season, including a pair of returning starters from last year’s squad.
Guard Chimere Jordan led the team last season in scoring with 468 points. She averaged 16.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. Her “slice-and-dice” approach and deadly shot from deep range left defenses frustrated last season. “We are expecting Chimere to be a leader and play up to her potential this season.”
Dominique Huffin (Tucker, Ga.) is a versatile player for the Bobcats and can play either the guard or forward position. Huffin is coming off a phenomenal season as the sixth man where she almost averaged a double-double with 11.2 points per game and 8.7 rebounds per game. “If Dominique plays to her capabilities she will have a great year.”
Mandi Dudish (Snellville, Ga.) will have knew surgery in January and miss the season.
Point guard Jessica Baker (Snellville, Ga.) was also great off the bench last season averaging 12.3 minutes per game, shooting .333 from the field while controlling the offense. “Jessica has the potential to be a very good player for us this season. We are going to have a great one-two punch with her and Karisma Boykin (Carroltton, Ga.) running the point.”
The Bobcats welcome four juniors this season, three returners, including one starter and one transfer.
Tammeisha Law (Athens, Ga.) played a key role for the Bobcats last season starting at the Forward position. Law averaged 6.1 points per game, shooting .396 from the field and nabbing 6.0 rebounds per game. “Tammeisha is a hustler. She is always getting down and dirty fighting for loose balls and rebounds. We are very excited about what she will bring to the team this upcoming season.”
Ashleigh Fox (Lilburn, Ga.) did not get much time last season but she has worked hard both on and off the court in the offseason to compete for playing time. “Ashleigh has strong leadership skills. We are looking for her to play key minutes this season.”
The last junior returner is guard Amanda Irwin (Hiawassee, Ga.). She has worked hard in the early going to get herself in the mix to battle for playing time at a guard spot. Irwin is a solid player on both ends. “She is working very hard and we will be looking for quality minutes from her.”
Georgia College welcomes Santa Fe Community College transfer Huguette Yanga (Cameroon, Africa). She played two years at Santa Fe and is looking to challenge for a potential staring spot at the forward position.
Georgia College welcomes just two sophomores this season, one returner and one transfer.
Kaila Parham (Savannah, Ga.) is a redshirt sophomore at the guard position for the ‘Cats. She saw time in four games last season and comes into this one working hard to earn some playing time at the guard position.
Karisma Boykin, or “Nemo” as she is known to her teammates, is the other half of the puzzle at point guard. She is a transfer from Division I Jacksonville State University and coach Smith is looking for her to be a big factor this season. “I am expecting Nemo to play valuable minutes at the point guard position.” Baker and Boykin should make a nice combination at the point guard position for the Bobcats to offset the production of All-PBC Second Team point guard Shandrea Moore, a graduated senior.
The ‘Cats welcome four true freshman to the squad this season. They include Molly Johnson (Marietta, Ga.), Abby Slocumb (Suwanee, Ga.), Caroline Edmond (Alpharetta, Ga.) and Krysta Lewis (Woodstock, Ga.).
Slocumb and Lewis should be key additions to the squad this season. They both measure out at six-feet as they challenge upper classmen for playing time at the 4-or-5 position.
“Abby is a very hard worker and has a lot of room for potential over the next coming years,” said Smith. “Krysta also has a lot of potential at the 4-or-5. She is doing very well right now and has a very high skill level down on the blocks.”
“We are truly excited about all of our freshman this season. I am looking forward to coaching all four of our freshman and seeing them improve over the coming years.”
Johnson and Edmond are also looking to compete for time on the hard-court this season. “These are two people new to the program. They both have great work ethic and attitude. I am looking for them to contribute to the team in all facets of the game.”
The Bobcats begin the exhibition season on the road at Mercer University, Nov. 4 at 5 p.m. They play their first home contest against USC Aiken Nov. 17 at 5:30 p.m. in the friendly confines of the Centennial Center.
The Georgia College Department of Athletics, back-to-back winners of the PBC Commissioner's Cup, sponsors 10 varsity athletic programs at the NCAA Division II level. As a Division II program, Bobcat Athletics prides itself on balancing the life of the student-athlete, evidenced by the teams' multiple appearances in post-season competition as well as documented academic success and community-service involvement. Sign up at www.twitter.com/GCSUBobcats for up-to-the-minute reports, and visit www.GCSUBobcats.com for more information, and to nominate your favorite former Bobcats and Colonials to the GC Athletics Hall of Fame.