Women’s Basketball season preview

The women’s basketball season is set to begin coming off a fairly disappointing year, the Panthers are looking to regroup and bounce back. Head coach Gene Hill enters his fifth season with the women’s basketball program and a team filled with returning players. 

Last season, the Panthers went 10-16 overall and 4-9 in conference play. This includes tough losses to Coastal Carolina, Troy, Georgia Southern and Appalachian State. As a team, the Panthers would average 64.7 points per game. This would include shooting 39 percent from the field, 28.5 percent from three and 63.5 percent from the free throw line. The Panthers would average 34.8 rebounds a game, 11.7 assists a game and boasted a plus 2.5 turnover margin. 

The 2022-23 season is filled with plenty of great matchups for the Panthers. The first big game is against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, followed by battles against the Florida State Seminoles and Clemson Tigers. The Panthers also have conference games against new Sun Belt opponents in the Southern Miss Golden Eagles, Old Dominion Monarchs, Marshall Thundering Herds and James Madison Dukes.

Coming into this season, the Panthers have many key players returning including Deasia Merrill, Kamyrn Dziak and Nyla Jean.  Dziak averaged 4.8 points per game and shot 31.4 percent from three last season. Merrill averaged 7.2 points per game, 3.9 rebounds per game and shot 42 percent from the field. Jean shot 33 percent from the field and averaged two rebounds per game.

Coach Hill has been with the Panthers since 2018 and has done a lot throughout his time with the program. In his four years with the Panthers, Gene went 48- 62 including a 29-36 conference record and two winning seasons. Coach Hill this season is assisted by coach Jon Bollier and coach Shanasa Sanders. 

The Panthers’ first game of the season is a matchup against Agnes Scott in the new Convocation center. Agnes Scott went 2-21 last season and went 1-14 in conference play. As a team, the Scotties averaged 43 points per game and shot 29 percent from the field. The Scotties also shot 19 percent from the three and 57 percent from the free throw line. 

For Agnes Scott, key players returning include Lindsay Moore, Kayla Jones and Erika Mclead. Moore averaged seven points per game, grabbed two rebounds per game and shot 33 percent from the field. Jones averaged seven points per game and three rebounds during the 2021-22 campaign. While Mclead shot 40 percent from the field and grabbed seven rebounds per game. 

Dziak and Hill made the trip to the Sun Belt Media day. Coach Hill was asked about opening the season in the new convocation center. “We talked the first day about what type of legacy we want to leave there.”, Hill said. “We have the opportunity to do something special, to start a tradition there.” Come see the Panthers’ home opener on Nov. 7th at 5:30 pm.