By Garrett Dutton | Sports Editor
The stage is set for the College of Coastal Georgia’s women’s basketball program to hit the court once again for the start of the 2015-16 season. But there is plenty of work left to do before the team travels to Brewton-Parker on Oct. 30 to compete in its season-opening tournament.
The season tip-off will be the first opportunity for second-year head coach Jonathan Barbaree to see his first signing class at Coastal in game action. Certainly Barbaree has been busy this off-season, bringing in eight newcomers to the line-up including four freshmen and four transfer students.
Junior’s Jamila Mayfield and Ashanti Groover are both huge centers who have come to Coastal from the NCAA Division I program at Georgia State University in downtown Atlanta, where Barbaree previously served as an assistant coach.
“With coach Barbaree coming from Georgia State he has been able to create great connections with good quality athletes.” Senior guard Gabby O’Sullivan said. “Each of my teammates have the ability to make a huge impact this year, and the transfers have brought more depth to our team and a lot of positive energy.”
With Mayfield at 6-foot-5 and Groover at 6-foot-3, the Mariners are looking forward to seeing improvement in their post play. At Georgia State, Mayfield played in 28 career games, tallying 34 points and 46 rebounds. Groover played in 32 games at Georgia State, scoring 71 points and securing 73 rebounds.
“Watch for our new post players to help right away because their size and strength,” said Barbaree. “They defend well and score inside which will truly help us in the paint.”
While post play is clearly important to Barbaree and the Mariners, shooting the ball from outside the post is something the Mariner’s must improve on to succeed in this league.
“All of the five new guards are three point threats,” Barbaree said. “We should definitely shoot better this season as a team from behind the arc.”
In the 2014-15 campaign, the Mariners shot a decent 67.57 percent from the field and finished the season 13-17 overall with a 7-11 record in Southern States Athletic Conference play, good enough to earn a berth in the conference tournament, the first for Barbaree.
The Mariners’ first home game is set for Nov. 7 at 5 p.m. against Thomas University. For a complete schedule and team updates, please visit www.coastalgeorgiasports.com.