Women's Basketball

New team, coach commit to ‘chasing greatness’

The Cougars got back to work this past week, preparing for what they hope will be a big year with their new head coach.

Caitlin Hilton Print-1

Junior forward Marche’ Amerson, who led the team in scoring last season with 322 points, returns as one of the two returning starters this season in the Cougars pursuit of an NCAA Championship.  |  File Photo/The Cougar

Junior forward Marché Amerson said she is confident this season is going to be entirely different from the disappointing performances the team had last season.

“It’s a brand new year,” Amerson said. “I don’t know what you heard about the past, but we put the past in the past, so come out and support … if you don’t, you’re missing out on something great.”

Amerson is looking forward to the Cougars’ upcoming season with new head coach Ronald Hughey. After the first day of practice, the returning starter was confident in the growth of the team as a unit.

“We knew today was going to be a lot of learning since we haven’t really been through drills with (Hughey) yet,” Amerson said. “Once we got things down, it all sped up.”

The Cougars hope that this speedy progression can carry them closer to their season goals as practice continues. Junior guard Jessieka Palmer is excited for what Hughey brings to the table in this regard.

“Season goals are obviously to win our conference and advance to the NCAA tournament,” Palmer said. “Coach Hughey is really big on defense and that’s something that my high school was big on, so getting back to that is really exciting for me.”

While the team continues to develop throughout preseason practices, Palmer and her teammates hope to adhere to their new motto of “chasing greatness.”

“Chasing greatness is never being content with where you are, it’s something unattainable,” Palmer said.

“So if you’re chasing greatness, you’re never always on your toes and you’re never comfortable settling with where you are.”

The hard work that the team is committing to this coming season is something that Hughey keeps a close eye on as he steps into an already established group of players.

“The girls play with heart,” Hughey said.

“The one thing we talk about is trusting, protecting and empowering each other, and I think you’ll be able to see those things out on the court. Regardless of whether we win or lose, we’ll always play hard.”

Hughey has some ambitious goals for the Cougars this year, and while most of them include the enforcement of “chasing greatness,” he wants the girls to feel strong about their individual pursuits.

“When they get up in the morning, I want them to understand that they matter,” said Hughey, “and not a day will go by when they can’t say that ‘I can, I will or I must.’ ”

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