MOREHEAD, Ky. -- With four starters back off a 21-win team last season, the optimism is high surrounding the Morehead State women's basketball program. Second-year head coach Tom Hodges and his staff welcomed back seven letterwinners and eight newcomers this year, and Monday the Eagles officially began preseason practices.
The team opens the season with a pair of exhibition games against Kentucky Christian (Nov. 3 -- 5:30 p.m. ET) and Asbury University (Nov. 7 - 6 p.m. ET) before tipping off the regular season at home against nationally-ranked Kentucky (Nov. 11 -- 7 p.m. ET).
The Eagles return the nation's third-ranked rebounder in Division I in junior forward Ashar Harris, arguably the OVC's most tenacious defender in senior two-guard Linda Dixon, and one of the most efficient point guards in the league in senior Courtney Lumpkin. MSU also has the services of sophomore guards Allie Turner, Terrice Robinson and Tyler Ituen back after they all put together solid freshman campaigns. Sophomore forward Shanice Parker also has a year in the system and is ready for an expanded role in 2011-12.
Newcomers to the roster include freshmen guards Natalie Greenwell, Almesha Jones and Ashley Henry, first-year forwards Casey Ryans, Whitney Kyle, Kristin Perry and MacKenzie Arledge and sophomore forward Tara Arnold, a Western Kentucky University transfer.
The Eagles do have to replace the school's all-time leading scorer in Chynna Bozeman, but for Hodges, the team should be more balanced on offense this year and will still utilize an aggresive style of defense.
MSU will be practicing each morning during preseason. Updates on the progress of the team as well as features on various athletes will be available on www.msueagles.com.