HARTSVILLE, S.C. - The Coker University women's basketball team looks to leave it all on the floor in 2019-20.
The Cobras won five games a season ago, with four of them in South Atlantic Conference play. Fifth-year head coach Shannon Johnson is challenging her team to compete on a nightly basis in a tough conference.
"Our goals are to take advantage of and grow from our non-conference games to help us prepare for league play, and also to compete on a nightly basis in the South Atlantic Conference," said Johnson. "We have some experienced players this year that will be able to perform night in and night out."
Johnson stated that she holds high expectations across the board for every player this year.
"I hold high expectations for the entire team this season," said Johnson. "We are going to be successful if we all can accept our roles and finish each game. We are depending on our experience this season. We are working on developing more consistency from game to game."
The Cobras return 13 players from last year, and also welcome four new players to the fold. Included in the group of returners is a member of last year's SAC All-Freshman Team in Saquita Joyner.
"We are looking for our returners to put up some big numbers this season and lead our team in a positive direction," said Johnson. "We have five seniors who will play the bulk of the minutes and set the pace for us to be successful. Our sophomores will be ready this season after getting a year of experience and learning how to be productive in this conference."
Coach Johnson is looking for some key roles out of her incoming freshman class.
"We are looking for our newcomers to hone their craft each and every day to be successful," said Johnson. "They all played significant roles on their high school teams, so we want them to learn and be able to compete at this level."
Johnson noted that the newcomers have challenged the returners in practice, and she likes the intensity she has seen early on.
"Our newcomers have been hungry in practice and pushing our returners daily, and that is what we need in practice," said Johnson. "We are being patient but we are working hard to reach a common goal and that is to be successful on the court."
Coker opens the 2019-20 campaign at Mount Olive on Saturday (Nov. 9), before traveling to the College of Charleston for a Division I exhibition on Nov. 12. The Cobras will host Erskine in their home opener on Nov. 16, before welcoming Converse for a midweek contest on Nov. 19. Coker begins conference play on Nov. 26 at Wingate, before hosting Lincoln Memorial on Nov. 30. The Cobras open the month of December at home against Mars Hill on Dec. 7, before traveling to Carson-Newman on Dec. 14. The Cobras will play host to Queens (N.C.) on Dec. 18, before traveling to Paine on New Year's Eve (Dec. 31). The Cobras will open 2020 at Lenoir-Rhyne on Jan. 4, before coming back home to host Catawba on Jan. 8. Tusculum comes to town on Jan. 11, before the Cobras will hit the road for Anderson (S.C.) on Jan. 15 and UVA-Wise on Jan. 18. The Cobras host Newberry on Jan. 22, before traveling to Lincoln Memorial on Jan. 25. Coker will wrap up the month of January hosting Wingate on the 29th. February begins at Mars Hill (Feb. 1), before the Cobras travel to Queens on Feb. 5. Carson-Newman comes to town on Feb. 8, before the Cobras hit the road to Catawba on Jan. 12. Coker will play two consecutive home games from there, welcoming Lenoir-Rhyne on Feb. 15 and Anderson on Feb. 19. The last road swing of the year will go through Tusculum on Feb. 22 and Newberry on Feb. 26, before the regular season finale and Senior Day against UVA-Wise on Feb. 29.
"Our toughest stretch of schedule will definitely be within our conference," explained Johnson. Every night we will have to go out and play our best. This is one of the toughest conferences and we are happy to play against top-notch competition. We want to focus on getting better as a unit and taking each game one by one."
Tip-off at Mount Olive is slated for 7:00 p.m. from Kornegay Arena on Saturday (Nov. 9). Video and live stats for the game will be available at www.cokercobras.com.