WARNER--Friday at 5 p.m. the Connors State Cowgirls open the 2018-19 season when they play host to Southwestern Christian Junior Varsity at Melvin Self Field House with a young and inexperienced team.
Head Coach Jamie Fisher enters his fourth season as at the helm and he opens the season at 5 p.m. with three returnees from last season's 15-17 team, along with three transfers and eight freshmen.
"We have a lot of young faces that are inexperienced but are learning my system," said Fisher. "As the season goes along, I know we will get better and improve."
The three returnees, who helped the Cowgirls reach the Region II Tournament a year ago, include Cheyenne Marshall 5-7 sophomore guard from Porter; Sadie Carter, 5-4 sophomore guard from Roland and Shaniqua Patterson, sophomore center from Hugo.
Transfers include Skylah Hawkins, 6-1 sophomore forward from Wylie, Texas, and Blinn Junior College where she average 8 points and 10 rebounds; Vicky Dru, 6-0 sophomore forward from Wylie, Texas, and Butler Community College, where she averaged 11 points and 6 rebounds; and Jessica White 6-2 freshman redshirt center from Porter and Southwest Assembly of God.
Freshmen newcomers include Kalen Wright 5-9 forward from Wyile, Texas; Kimberly Motley, 5-6 guard from Crowder; Mikayla Kilgore, 5-6 guard from Porter; Melina Ludlow, 5-4 guard from Tahlinia; Aniya Webster, 5-9 guard from Fort Smth, Ark.; McKenzie Bowie, 5-8 guard from Lewisville, Texas; Tateum Jones, 5-5 guard from Hugo, and Lauren Wright, 5-9 forward from Wylie, Texas.
"Defensively we are far ahead now than at this time last year," said Fisher. However, he has some concern about their offensive production.
"I just don't know if we score the ball as well. It's a very different team this year. We will struggle early offensively, but I expect us to improve shooting the ball as the season goes along," said Fisher.
The leadership of Fisher's club falls in the hands of Marshall, Carter and Patterson, according to the head coach.
"Those three that were in the program a year ago will lead the way for us," said Fisher. "They aren't vocal leaders, but lead by example. They have done a very good job in the preseason."
Fisher said he wants this club to take the next step and that's to reach the Region II semifinals. "We have been going to the regional tournament, now we have to get out of the first round.
"That's something these kids want to do. They want to get to the top three of the conference. We are starting to be competitive and they want to take the next step," said Fisher.
That next step is going through Northeastern A&M, the defending Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference champion, and ranked No. 20 in the NJCAA preseason poll.
"NEO is the team to beat once again, but the conference will be extremely close among the rest of the schools," said Fisher. "It will be a real dog fight for that second and third place spot."