Winning just six games last year could be called underwhelming for the Lady Cougars.
They look to change that this season and take major steps forward.
The first of those being the ability to better get up and down the floor on a nightly basis.
Head Coach Erin Webb spoke with me and that was one of the first things she pointed out.
Last year due to Covid, conditioning was lacking especially early.
This season she feels like her team will have a better time doing that from game one on.
One player who took conditioning seriously this offseason was Rylie Moore.
According to Coach Webb “I have had people not recognize her. People who know Rylie and saw her play don’t even recognize her because of the amount of work she put in.”
Moore completely transformed this offseason.
Now a player capable of getting up and down the floor, diving after loose balls, and of course still a knock-down shooter, Moore could be the x-factor this year for the Lady Cougars.
Other role players who will need to step up this year include Jada Davidson, Jada Fann, Anna Leatherwood, and Jenna Russell.
Russell is a coach’s dream.
A good but maybe not great player, but can and will give one hundred and ten percent of herself in everything she does.
She is a tenacious defender and rebounder and according to Coach Webb “she’s athletic enough, that anything she is unsure of, is made up for by her athleticism.”
Russell showed off a few times last season on the softball diamond, we will see this season if she can translate that to basketball.
She also has been working on her shot and Coach Webb made sure to mention “she may surprise some people.”
Of course, shooting is great but post presence matters.
Jada Fann and Jada Davidson will do what they can alongside Emma Rollins to control the post.
Rollins is a sophomore with an elite post move but not much else.
She will have to grow in other aspects.
Meanwhile, Fann and Davidson look to take major strides as upperclassmen.
Davidson suffered a knee injury that, due to circumstances beyond her control, has taken her over a year and a half to heal from physically and mentally.
Coach Webb mentioned however that Davidson “came out this summer with a vengeance. She is ready. I feel like, mentally, she has overcome that completely and the amount of work she has put in to earn the spot she has right now is incredible.”
Finally, there is Anna Leatherwood.
Leatherwood makes a big move this offseason from a wing position to PG.
According to reports she did play a lot of point guard for her AAU team and has started to develop into that role.
If she can distribute to a host of good shooters, look for the Lady Cougars to put up points in bunches.
Now, anyone familiar with this program knows this is a name we have yet to mention; AC Milam.
As I stated in my interview with Coach Webb, we all know what Milam is capable of.
She is an elite scorer with a natural ability to create her own shot.
I asked Coach Webb what the Top 50 player in the state had improved on this offseason.
“Defense.” Coach Webb expressed to me. “Shes really focused on Defense. I am seeing that in this first week of practice, that she had decided ‘I really wanna play defense.’ She gets a great read on the ball and she is smart enough to anticipate those kinds of things.”
It came down to her wanting too do this, and she seemingly wants to.
It also, according to Coach Webb, is not the biggest help that in AAU defense is nearly non existent.
The other thing that sets Milam apart and will aid her teammates this season is her work ethic.
She is the real life definition of a gym rat.
Always has a ball in her hands. Is always looking too get in a gym.
Milam will even do what most of today’s athletes don’t. She will go it alone.
“Alot of times athletes today need someone to go with them….AC doesn’t need that. She’ll just go in the gym by herself…with her airpods in and work, cuz she loves it that much” Coach Webb explained to me.
Many of these girls have shown a propencity this offseason for putting their head down and grinding.
If that sort of work ethic and drive spills into the season, look out for the Lady Cougars.
They are in a much more winnable district, and as Coach Webb pointed out, this is her first season where all her players never played for anyone but her on the hill.
“It isn’t buy in anymore”she told me. Now they know the culture and the expectation.
If you want to hear the full conversation with Coach Webb it is linked below.
As well we have a schedule where you can stay up to date on the results and upcoming matchups.