ATLANTA - Georgia State’s women’s basketball program had their first practice of the fall Monday at the GSU Sports Arena. The Panthers open the season Nov. 11 at Florida in Gainesville, Fla.
Head coach Sharon Baldwin has a lot of new faces on the team this season, as GSU brought in nine newcomers in the offseason, including two freshmen.
“We looked good in the first practice,” Baldwin said. “We have a long way to go with so many new people and we have some players trying to return from injury, so our challenge will be putting it all together over the next few weeks before the season-opener.”
With two former Sun Belt Freshmen of the Year honorees on the team this year, the guard position looks to be stable. Madison Newby missed all but three games last year after being named the top conference freshman in 2015-16. Jada Lewis returns for her sophomore campaign after leading the team in scoring last year, garnering the 2016-17 Sun Belt freshman award.
Sophomore Shaquanda Miller-McCray made the most out of her opportunities last season, recording 10 blocks and 21 rebounds in just 72 minutes.
Along with the returners, Baldwin and her coaching staff worked hard to bring in some of the top JUCO players. Shay Fluker, Kiersten Hunter, Juliet James, Victoria Middlebrooks and Janessa Murphy were top performers at their respective JUCO’s before transferring to GSU in the offseason. In addition, Francesca Minali is eligible this season after sitting out last year due to NCAA transfer rules.
Add in freshmen Deja Mitchell and Rakeah Williams and the Panthers have a lot of upside heading into the 2017-18 season.
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