HARTSVILLE, S.C. – The Coker College women's basketball team, under the tutelage of third-year head coach Shannon Johnson, is ready to get the 2017-18 season underway. The Cobras open up their season on Friday (Nov. 3) when they travel to the University of South Carolina to take on the 2016-17 national champion Gamecocks.
2017-18 Season Outlook
The Cobras present a 17 player roster, made up of 11 returners and six newcomers. Of the 11 returners, the Navy and Gold bring back four starters from last year's squad, including the field goal percentage statistical champion in the South Atlantic Conference last season, Iresha Cooper. Cooper shot a league-high 55.1 percent from the floor last year.
However, Coker should have significant contributions from some of their newcomers this season.
"We brought in six players, three freshman and three transfers," said Johnson. "Freshmen Hannah Stull, Laura Ajukwa, and Taiylar DeMoss are three players we feel like will be groomed this year, but can steal some minutes because they are very active, and they make it very competitive in practice for other players."
While the freshman will provide depth for the Cobras, the three transfers could be game-changers on the court in Coker's 2017-18 campaign. The transfers include Janea Williams, Erin Houser, and Hayley Kropp.
Williams, a 6-3 forward/center, transferred in from UNC-Wilmington and is a graduate student.
"We're really excited on what Janea will bring to our team as far as her size, her post presence, her versatility, and getting up and down the court," stated Johnson. "You'll be able to see her put the ball in the hole for us."
Houser, a 6-2 forward, transferred to Coker from North Carolina Central and is a sophomore.
"I'm really excited about what Erin Houser can do," said Johnson. "This young lady can put the ball in the hole. She's going to be able to score points for us on a regular basis and we're looking for her to put the big numbers up."
Kropp, a 5-6 guard, joined the Cobras after spending a year at Guilford Technical Community College. She is in her sophomore year.
"Then we have one of our best shooters heading into the season in Hayley Kropp," stated Johnson. "She is a player who's going to knock it down for us."
As mentioned, the Cobras will open up their season with an exhibition game at the University of South Carolina on Friday (Nov. 3) at 7 p.m. After taking on the defending NCAA Division I champions, the Navy and Gold will have a quick turnaround when they travel to UNC-Charlotte to take on the 49ers on Saturday (Nov. 4).
"I was fortunate enough to go back to my alma mater and get an exhibition match with the defending national champions," said Johnson. "Then we have a nice little back-to-back game with UNC-Charlotte, so we have two great opportunities to see where our team is right away."
The Navy and Gold will continue non-conference play before Thanksgiving by competing at the Conference Carolinas-SAC Showdown and against Barton, Fayetteville St., Belmont Abbey, and Elon.
"The Conference Carolinas-SAC Showdown will give us a chance to get ready for our conference," stated Johnson. "We know how strong our conference is and these regional games will be very good for our team."
After Thanksgiving, the Cobras jump right into their conference schedule with a home game against Lenoir-Rhyne on Nov. 29.
"We're really looking forward to getting right into conference play and being able to compete this year," said Johnson.
Other home conference games for the Cobras this year include Mars Hill (Dec. 16), Queens (Dec. 18), Newberry (Jan. 3), Anderson (Jan. 13), Wingate (Jan. 17), Carson-Newman (Jan. 27), Tusculum (Feb. 10), Catawba (Feb. 14), and Lincoln Memorial (Feb. 17).
Fans are encouraged to follow the Coker women's basketball 2017-18 season at www.cokercobras.com.