New coach looks to change Lady Eagles fortunes
By By BRUCE HIXON Sports Editor
With four coaches in as many years, the head post of the W.S. Neal Lady Blue Eagles basketball program has needless to say become a revolving door.
That was not the only revolving door within the program a year ago. Out of the 10 players that suited up in the season opener, only four remained at the postseason finale.
First-year coach Angela Carr hopes to stop both of those trends.
"It's tough on the players, especially the older ones, having to learn a new coaching system every year. I think they've adjusted well to me so far. I'm just trying to teach the knowledge I've obtained as a player," said Carr, who played collegiately at Alabama A &M.
As the Lady Blue Eagles try to improve on last year's 3-16 mark, they do have some experience on their side. Six of their 14 players saw considerable playing time last season although of those six only Carolyn Marshall and Jessica Smith started and finished the season.
Marshall, a 5-5 junior, Tierra Andrews a 5-6 sophomore, and Shekinah Adams, a 5-5 junior, will battle for the point guard spot. Marshall and Andrews both saw significant time a year ago in that role.
"Carolyn has very good speed and she is very aggressive. Tierra handles the ball pretty well and has a good half-court game. Shekinah shoots the ball pretty well. She is able to shoot a pull-up jumper off the dribble," Carr said.
At the other guard spot, W.S. Neal will use Tiffany Pettis, a 5-6 senior, Candi Williams, a 5-4 junior, Tiara Matthews, a 5-6 sophomore, and Jolesia Likely, a 5-9 junior transfer from T.R Miller.
"Tiffany is pretty good at offensive rebounding and putting the ball back up. Candi and Tiara both like to drive and take the ball to the basket. Jolesia has a good all-round game. She can dribble and shoot," Carr said.
The small forward spot is W.S. Neal's most experienced position where Rhonda Bradley, a 5-7 senior, Brittany Tagudar, a 5-7 senior, and Smith, a 5-6 sophomore, all saw time last year.
"Rhonda is working hard at the
See LADY EAGLES Page 7A put-backs and her offensive rebounding is getting better. Jessica and Brittany are both aggressive players. Brittany's strength is probably her rebounding," Carr said.
At the power forward spot, the Lady Blue Eagles will look to Latoya Floyd, a 5-7 senior, and Chelsea Gulley, a 5-7 junior.
"Latoya does a good job of using her body inside and Chelsea is a pretty good rebounder," Carr said.
Carr indicated she may opt for a three-forward lineup. Otherwise Jamie Jordan, a 5-11 senior, will anchor the center spot.
"Jamie is the biggest player we've got and we'll try to utilize her size. If we don't use her as a true center, we'll move her to a forward spot," Carr said.
Carr said her early goal is to just get better.
"Execution is a concern. So is frustration and frustration with each other. As a team, we've got pretty good speed and we've got a lot of people who can drive the ball to the basket," Carr said. "Right now we just need to get better. If we work hard and do our best to improve, that's all I can ask for," Carr said.
While the waters have been smooth for the Lady Blue Eagles during their preseason workouts, Carr said there is concern if the squad gets off to a tough start once the season gets underway.
"I think it's every coach's concern, especially at a program that has struggled, that the attitude of 'here we go again' could set in. If it does, we'll just have to deal with it. Hopefully that problem won't occur," Carr said.
W.S. Neal Lady Blue Eagles Basketball Schedule
Nov. 22 Georgiana Home 5 p.m.
Nov. 23 Frisco City Away 5 p.m.
Nov. 29 Northview (Fla.) Home 5 p.m.
Dec. 3 Clarke County Home 5 p.m.
Dec. 9-11 Escambia County Tournament at Escambia County
Dec. 13 J.U. Blacksher Home 5 p.m.
Dec. 17 UMS-Wright Away TBA
Jan. 7 Clarke County Away 5 p.m.
Jan. 11 T.R. Miller Home 5 p.m.
Jan. 13 Andalusia Home 5 p.m.
Jan. 14 Straughn Home 5 p.m.
Jan. 18 Georgiana Away 4:30 p.m.
Jan. 21 T.R. Miller Away 5 p.m.
Jan. 25 Straughn Away 5 p.m.
Jan. 27 Andalusia Away 4:30 p.m.
Jan. 28 UMS-Wright Home TBA
Jan. 31 Frisco City Home 5 p.m.
Feb. 1 Pleasant Home 5 p.m.
Feb. 3 J.U. Blacksher Away 5 p.m.
Feb. 4 Northview Away 5 p.m.