Becky Newhouse and her Georgia Regents teammates savored last season.
The Lady Jaguars posted a nine-win improvement over the previous year, finishing at 21-6. Georgia Regents, then Augusta State, posted its most wins since 2003-04, when the team went 24-8 and advanced to the Elite Eight.
“Last year was fun,” Newhouse said. “We finally figured our chemistry out and who was going to do what. Once we clicked, we clicked.”
The Lady Jaguars will try to continue their momentum when they open the season at 5:30 p.m. today at Limestone College in Gaffney, S.C. Georgia Regents plays its first four games on the road before coming home Nov. 30 to face Paine College.
Despite last season’s success, fourth-year coach Nate Teymer found himself in a different situation entering this fall. The team graduated center Taylor Ayers (11.3 points, 7.1 rebounds). Then, forward Jemimah Ashby (11.1 points) elected to have knee surgery to repair cartilage during the summer – she will sit out this season. And guard Tanchelle Hollingsworth (10.2 points, 46 3-pointers) is red-shirting this season.
Georgia Regents lost its top five scorers from last season. Guards Newhouse (6.0 points, 5.9 rebounds) and Brooke McCants (3.9 points) are the lone experienced returners.
“It’s one of those things that makes you appreciate last season,” Teymer said. “This year, we have to re-prove ourselves with a whole bunch of new faces. It’s going to be interesting to see where we’re at the first few weeks of the season.”
Teymer said he expects to play eight to nine players in a rotation. Junior college transfers Whitney Rohrbach, a potent 3-point shooter, and forwards Lonna Turner and Kelsey Fynaardt are expected to contribute.
Freshmen Tavia Sykes, a wing, and Marissa Mandledove, freshman point guard, also will see significant minutes, Teymer said.
“We’re going to work hard and try to be as good as we can be,” Newhouse said. “There are a lot of new people here. We’re going to figure it out slowly but surely, but we’re going to get it.”