Kiara Farley wanted to help out last season, but all she could do was sit on the bench and watch in agony.
The sophomore guard had surgery to repair her torn meniscus in her left knee after transferring to Paine. She sat on the bench the entire season, watching her teammates suffer through a 3-24 campaign.
“It was so horrible last year,” she said. “I wanted to be out there playing with them.”
Farley will get her chance this season, and she’ll do so with a new-look team. After watching his team sink to the bottom of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, second-year coach Willie Adams made drastic changes.
Adams was hired in April 2010, getting a late start on recruiting for last season’s team. This year he returned four players and added nine newcomers, including a pair of Augustans in Laney guard Ciarra Morris and Hephzibah forward BreAsia Burns.
“I was looking for toughness,” he said. “I was looking for basketball players who knew the game.”
Forward Brittany Pevey is the lone senior on the team. With Paine having 10 underclassman and a slew of new faces, she likes what she’s seen thus far.
“We’re more together than past teams,” Pevey said. “That’ll help us along the way.”
Last year’s team shot 32 percent from the field and averaged just 53 points a contest. The Lady Lions also struggled in turnover margin (-4.1) and rebounding margin (-6.4).
Adams said he expects those numbers to improve. He’s planning to employ a 10-player rotation, with four newcomers sliding into starting roles (Farley at point guard, followed by sophomore Quandra Rogers at shooting guard, freshman Kharyna Stanford at power forward and Burns at center.) Sophomore returner Baeisha Johnson will start at small forward. Pevey and Morris should provide firepower off the bench.
“I expect some growing pains,” Adams said. “I also know they’ll be competitive.”