Mike Mincey era begins at C-N as Lady Eagles open basketball practice
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. — The Mike Mincey era begins officially Saturday when the Carson-Newman College women's basketball team hits the court for its first official practice in Holt Fieldhouse.
Mincey, the Eagles first-year head coach, has been with the program for four years as an assistant coach, but has still benefited from the new NCAA Division II rules that allowed two hours of full-team practices during the fall. The extra time already has Mincey's unit ahead of the curve.
"We were really able to teach team defense, work on our transition and do some of our motion offense stuff," Mincey said. "In addition to that we got to do a lot of conditioning. We could go six-or-seven minutes at a time and make it competitive."
Mincey plans on working a solid two hours on Saturday morning, then following up with two more hours on Sunday afternoon.
"We'll continue to get into our transition stuff and begin introducing our presses and some of our offensive sets," Mincey said.
The Lady Eagles will bring back two of their three leading scorers from last season. Senior forward Zoriah Williams (Calera, Ala.) and sophomore forward Shannon Depew (Newport, Tenn.) Depew is the reigning South Atlantic Conference freshman of the year after averaging nearly 10 points and eight rebounds a game in 2010-11. Williams was good for almost 13 points and 10 rebounds a game last year.
"We're really strong at the post and have a lot of experience at that position," Mincey said. "Guard is where we're inexperienced."
Sophomore Rechelle Dye (Greeneville, Tenn.) is Mincey's returning guard with the most playing time under her belt. Dye started the last seven games of last season and all through the SAC Tournament.
"Rechelle came on strong," Mincey said. "She did a really good job and earned our trust."
Two freshmen have already caught Mincey's eye in the early work. 5-foot-11 Cassie Campbell should see solid time at the post for the Lady Eagles.
"I've really been pleased with her (Campbell)," Mincey said. "She posts up well and finishes around the basket. She doesn't look like a freshman."
It came as no surprise to Mincey that hometown freshman guard Lacey Miller (Dandridge, Tenn.) came to Holt Fieldhouse ready to play. Miller has benefited from years of youth basketball, including a stint under C-N assistant coach Michael Potts.
"As of the last couple of weeks, I've been really pleased with her (Miller's) progression," Mincey said. "She's been really well coached throughout her youth basketball career. She knows team defense. Lacey understands that and is really an intelligent player."
C-N's regular season begins on the road on Nov. 16 against Limestone before returning home to Mossy Creek for a five-game home stand beginning with Bryan on Nov. 21.
"I like where we are," Mincey said. "I know that their mindset is right. Out of the four years I've been here, chemistry-wise, this is the best I've seen it."
As usual, the Lady Eagles have prepared a brutal exhibition schedule for themselves to prepare for the season, opening up against Pat Summit's University of Tennessee Lady Vols on Nov. 1 at Thompson Boling Arena, then following that up at East Tennessee State, then making a visit to Carson-Newman alumnus and Women's Basketball Hall of Famer Sylvia Hatchell's North Carolina Tar Heels on Nov. 9.