Lady Panthers Look to Continue Success on the Court

Josh Bowlds, Sports Writer

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Going into the 2017-2018 season, women’s basketball co-head coach Nicole Nieman doesn’t know exactly what to expect out of her team as the Lady Panthers welcome six new players to their roster. “We’re a young team. They’re coming in and working hard and being great teammates,” said Coach Nieman. One thing that the Lady Panthers do have to look forward to is seven returning girls on the roster this season, which gives them hope that this can still be another successful year on the floor. With respect to those seven returning players, only two are seniors, Addie Reimbold and Codie Drake, but Coach Nieman believes these two girls are going to play an integral role in their team’s success this season, “I think our seniors are just great people. They know what the program is all about. They’re doing a great job of leading.”

Being the only two seniors on the floor is going to be a challenge but both girls feel confident in their roles and are ready for a great year. “We’re really excited for this season to get started and to show everyone what we have. I don’t feel any extra pressure at all” said senior 5’8 guard Addie Reimbold. Senior 6’0 forward Codie Drake went on to say, “We’re willing to work hard. We’ve picked up the leadership this year and we’re really excited to get started.” Other players that the Lady Panthers welcome back to the floor include Junior Shayla Wright who averaged 8.6 PPG and 3.0 RPG last season and sophomore Jasmine Shelt who put up on average 5.4 PPG and 2.9 RPG last season.

While over the past couple seasons the Lady Panthers have managed to put up winning records, including going 19-8 last season, Coach Nieman stressed that they don’t focus totally on their record especially heading into this year, “For us every year we don’t look at wins and losses. We strive to come in and be our best every day. We focus on things that we can control and we can control how hard we work, how great of a teammate I am to someone else, and our mental toughness…winning and losing is just something that will happen if you really focus on the important things.” Another factor that could play an important role in their success on the court this season is their new schedule that includes new teams joining the GMAC in women’s basketball, “We have a lot of new faces in our conference” said coach. “It’s going to be a battle every night this year.”

One thing that will benefit the Lady Panthers on the floor this season is their overall speed and quickness. “We’re fast, we like to play fast” said coach. However, one downside to being quick around the ball is being small under the basketball and Coach Nieman said that the Lady Panthers are no exception, “We’re going to be small, but we believe what we like in height we can make up for in speed.” While they’re going to be new to a lot of things including their roster and conference the Lady Panthers hope to remain as a strong winning program and are ready for the challenge that this season holds.

The Lady Panthers will have their home opener on Saturday, November 11th at 11 am at the Sportscenter against Stephens College. The Lady Panthers opened their season on October 28th with an exhibition loss to Division I opponent Southern Illinois 89-41.

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