PERKINSTON — Hope Adams' Mississippi Gulf Coast women's basketball season tips off the 2018-19 season Friday, and she thinks there's plenty of promise.
"We're young, and we're still trying to figure out our roles," she said. "It's about them understanding each other, but I'm excited about the team. These next four games will be crucial for us. Once we get the freshmen in and we get a couple games under our belts, I think everything will mess together."
The Lady Bulldogs play Coastal Alabama in the first game, which tips off at 5:30 p.m. at newly renovated Weathers-Wentzell Center. The game will be streamed at https://livestream.com/MGCCCBulldogs/events/8438171. The second will be Monday at Bishop State before a trip to Senatobia on Thursday and Friday to play games against Mississippi Delta and host Northwest.
Gulf Coast will be counting on young players to carry a huge part of the load. Kayla Simmons (Fr., Brandon/Brandon), Nya Irvin (Fr., Jackson/Murrah) and Mia Goolsby (Fr., Greenville, S.C./Legacy Early College) are expected to be the top three freshmen in the fall.
Simmons, a post player, and Irvin, a wing, were selected to play in the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star game last season. Goolsby is a 5-foot-2 dynamo who will play point guard.
They'll join Shelli Thigpen (So., Wylie Texas/Wylie) and Azaria Howard (So., Richland/Richland), the leading returning scorers. Thigpen averaged 8.0 points per game, while Howard was the second-leading scorer at 9.4 points coming off the bench. She's expected to fill a similar spark-plug role this year.
"When it all comes out, if everybody steps up the way we want, we want to be able to sub five in, five out," Adams said. "That's the way we recruited and set things up."
Gulf Coast plays its first MACJC South game on Dec. 3. East Central will visit Perkinston for the sole division game before the Christmas break.
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