Women's Basketball Preview: Alabama A&M
2016-17 Record and Finish: 2-25 (0-16 SWAC); Missed SWAC Tournament
Key Returners: SG Jameica Cobb, PG Lauren McKee, F Alisha Davis
Key Losses: PG Hilary Williams, SF Ebony Johnson
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – One of the youngest teams from last season is even younger in 2017, as Alabama A&M comes into the year with designs on trending upward despite adding a significant amount of newcomers to the fold.
It was a bit of tough sledding for the Lady Bulldogs in head coach Margaret Richards’ inaugural year on the sideline, but there were some bright spots. Namely, the emergence of 2016-17 SWAC Freshman of the Year Jameica Cobb (13.0 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 1.3 SPG) gives Alabama A&M a strong catalyst to build around.
That said, without guard Hilary Williams and forward Ebony Johnson, the Lady Bulldogs will need at least one player to step forward as a complementary impact player alongside Cobb. Guard Lauren McKee (7.0 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 1.0 SPG) appears to be the best candidate to make the proverbial leap. McKee, who was one of the more competent long-range shooters in the league last season – as evidenced by her 30 made treys and 31 percent clip from deep – will have to up her production to take some of the offensive load off of Cobb.
On the inside, Alisha Davis is the team’s most experienced returner. While Davis flashed as a defensive stopper as she averaged 1.6 blocks per game, she’ll be tasked with providing some interior offense too, as the Lady Bulldogs look to be a balanced unit.
Perhaps the major determining factor for the Lady Bulldogs as they try to surpass preseason expectations of ninth in the SWAC will be how quickly the team – particularly the new blood – grows up. Of the 13 listed players, eight of them are freshmen, and there aren’t any seniors on the squad, with just one junior set to suit up. Early contributions from signees such as guards Tierra Dark, Atajma Criss Felton and Aubriana Bonner and interior players Elexis Evans and Ashlyn Dotson will go a long way for the Lady Bulldogs this season.
Alabama A&M’s out-of-conference schedule is highlighted by home tilts versus Evansville (Nov. 15), Austin Peay (Nov. 21) and contests at Tennessee State (Nov. 18) and UAB (Dec. 17). AAMU opens the season at Alabama on Nov. 10.