PERKINSTON — New Mississippi Gulf Coast women's basketball coach Hope Adams will see her team tip off her first season Friday in Baton Rouge.
Adams was elevated to head coach after last season, and she wants to see her team be undefeated headed into MACJC South play.
"I'm hoping we'll be able to go to Baton Rouge and click into game mode," she said. "We want to put in the effort and come out of them with two wins."
Gulf Coast opens the Lady Bears Classic against Bossier Parish at 5:30 p.m. Friday. The Lady Bulldogs play the host team Saturday at 1 p.m.
The Lady Bulldogs have played a challenging preseason schedule, mostly against powerful Florida teams. They've held their own as they adapt to the new regime.
Adams has seven returning sophomores, led by Keiara Williams (So, New Orleans/Warren Easton). She averaged 10.0 points and 6.7 rebounds per game as a freshman.
"Keiara Williams should be All-Conference and All-Region," said Adams.
She'll also be counting on MiMi Bishop (So, Madison/Madison Central), Eden Duckworth (So, Heidelberg/Heidelberg), Deona Morgan (So, Ocean Springs/St. Martin), J'Nitra Ratliff (So, Port Gibson/Port Gibson) and Eanna Sims (So, Jackson/Forest Hill).
"We have a steady group of sophomores," Adams said. "I think they're a great group of leaders."
Her first recruiting class is highlighted by Shelli Thigpen (Fr, Wylie, Texas/Wylie), who was Most Valuable Player in her Class 5A district in the Dallas suburbs.
"Shellie Thigpen is extremely athletic," Adams said. "I'm just trying to get her more confident in her game."
"They're competitive," Adams said. "They're ready to win, and I'm excited about that."
The Lady Bulldogs' first home game is Monday when Bishop State travels to the Weathers/Wentzell Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
Adams and new assistant Stacy Malone are installing a full-court pressing system they hope leads to baskets in transition. They say they've seen major improvement this preseason, in everything from attitude to fundamentals.
"We still have a lot we need to work on," Adams said. "We need to execute our offense, not rush things. We're excited to get to play Friday and Saturday, then we'll come home Monday and see exactly where we are."
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