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Roane State Community College women’s basketball coach Monica Boles fine-tuned her team’s conditioning regimen during the offseason.
The result, she said, is a team that’s ready to run.
“We’ve really run them and done a lot of basketball-specific exercises,” Boles said. “I’ve seen some great strides. We’re definitely going to push the tempo, and we are going to press a lot.”
Shaun Simpson, director of Roane State’s Fitness Center, provided his expertise as the team’s strength and conditioning coach to help prepare the players for the season. The Raiderettes will unleash their high-octane style this Saturday at 2 p.m. when they play Spartanburg Methodist in their home-opener. The game is part of day-long festivities celebrating the college’s 40th anniversary.
Roane State returns five sophomores from last year’s 19-8 squad, giving Boles one of her most experienced teams.
“Some of our best players are our best leaders, and I think that will pay dividends,” Boles said. “They know what I expect, and what’s expected of them. I think that’s going to pay off for us. They want the freshmen to learn correctly.”
Boles’ team also includes a talented group of freshmen who are “eager and hungry.”
“We want to be the most well-conditioned, smartest and most mentally tough team in the league,” Boles said.
Boles, who is assisted by Tinisha Key and Natasha Phillips, provided her outlook for each of the Raiderettes.
Shynika Batista, 5-9, freshman, guard, Knoxville: Batista is quick and athletic. “The more you push her, the harder she goes,” Boles said.
Tashia Biggs, 5-9, freshman, post, Ashland City: Biggs can play inside and outside. Boles described her as a “smooth” player who passes well and runs the floor well.
Jassmine Franklin, 6-1, sophomore, post, Lexington, Ky.: Long, fast and physical, Franklin is aggressive in the paint and has a nice shooting touch.
Crystal Garrett, 5-9, guard/post, freshman, Wartburg: Garrett, is strong, quick and capable of playing inside or outside.
Kayla Gibson, 5-6, sophomore, guard, Byrdstown: Gibson is an outstanding 3-point shooter, Boles said, who is also strong and physical.
Takyah Gilmore, 5-6, sophomore, guard/post, Alcoa: Boles called Gilmore “the most athletic guard in our league.” Gilmore can beat any defender to the basket, Boles said, adding that her potential is “unbound.”
Jill Herman, 6-0, sophomore, guard, Powell: Herman is the team’s top returning scorer and an outstanding all-around player. “You can’t have enough kids like her,” Boles said.
Bria Hollins, 5-4, freshman, guard, Villa Rica, Ga.: Hollins is a quick on-the-ball defender who is gaining confidence in her offensive abilities. “She’s going to make some ball-handlers have nightmares,” Boles said.
Kayla Kimes, 5-5, sophomore, guard, Celina: Kimes is quick, and she excels driving to the basket. Her 3-point shot is improving, Boles said.
Shannon Parks, 5-8, freshman guard/post, Lenoir City: Parks is an outstanding 3-point shooter with “no limit to her range,” Boles said.
Amiee Phillips, 5-9, freshman, post, Monterey: Phillips is a “work horse,” Boles said. She runs well, and her mid-range jump shot is improving.
Kristina Stephens, 5-10, freshman, guard/post, Smithville: Stephens, who also plays softball for Roane State, has a nice shooting touch, passes well and is capable of playing guard and post.