HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Hoping to build on last season's work, the Coker women's basketball team has its sights set on one thing – a championship.
With 10 new players and only four returners for the 2011-2012 season, it was a rebuilding year for the Cobras. But, after a few hiccups early in the season, the group took itself to the first round of the Conference Carolinas playoffs. They won 11 of their final 15 games and finished 11-16 overall and 11-6 in conference play.
This season is completely different, as the Cobras have 10 returning players. The recruiting class added guard Angie Lawrence and forwards Autumn Lau, Hannah Kuhn and Theresa Jackson-Henderson, providing depth and versatility at all positions. The strong combination of returners and newcomers has the team thinking championship in its last season in Conference Carolinas before heading to the South Atlantic Conference.
"I am really excited about this season," said third-year head coach Jenny Finora. "Our offseason regimen was tougher than it's ever been, but the staff believed that's what we needed in order to take the next step. As long as we continue to work hard and stay focused, I like our chances this year."
The Cobras ended last year in a three-point overtime loss to North Greenville University in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament. Getting a hint of success was great for the Cobras, but they are far from satisfied. So, in the offseason, they changed their training approach.
"This year we have really stepped it up a gear," said sophomore point guard Heidrun Kristmundsdottir. "We are running faster, practicing harder and not letting the little things go unnoticed. We want to win a championship and are doing everything we can to achieve that."
With five seniors on the team, the Cobras bring a lot of experience heading into the 2012-13 campaign. First team all-conference player Amber Lau, the team's leading scorer a season ago, and third team all-conference selection Jessica Cohen, the leading rebounder, return for their senior seasons. Lucy Fish, Kuhn and Jackson-Henderson round out the senior class.
Excitement is building up around this program and, after stepping up the efforts in preseason, the Cobras are ready to begin the 2012-2013 season and show everyone what they're capable of.
Coker opens its season with an exhibition at the University of Tennessee on Nov. 4. The regular-season opener is Nov. 9 against Carson-Newman in the SAC-Conference Carolinas challenge.