A new era of Jacksonville College women's basketball will get under way at 5:30 p.m. next Friday when the Lady Jaguars open the 2013-14 campaign by taking on Southern-Shreveport (La.) in the opening round of the Panola College Classic in Carthage.
Roaming the sidelines as bench boss of the JC women this year will be head coach Leasa Ailshie, who took over the reins of the program in the spring when former head coach T. Lynn Nabi was promoted to Academic Dean at JC.
Ailshie is a native of Claremore, Okla., who played collegiately and graduated from Sam Houston State University, served for two seasons as Nabi's assistant prior to being moved up to the role of head coach.
Making the transition a bit more easy will be the return of four players from last season that appeared to have settled into leadership roles very well this fall.
That group includes Deva'Nyar Workman, Allison Moore, Susan Agesen and Yvonne Maosa.
"Our four sophomores have not only played well in the preseason, but they have stepped up and assumed leadership roles within the team," Ailshie said. "With eight new players that's important and I think our four sophomores have been setting good examples and have been holding the freshmen accountable."
With two-thirds of the team in their first year in Purple and White it's difficult to make a prediction on how well this bunch will do, but one thing is for sure, the Lady Jags have performed well against two of Region 5's better teams. Weatherford College and Midland College in recent scrimmages - the Lady Jags won both of those games.
"We have a lot of things that we still need to improve on,"Ailshie said. "One thing I've seen and that I like about this team is that they are mentally tough. In a couple of our scrimmage games they were tired physically, but they overcame that mentally and fought through that to win a couple of games and to see that this early in the year is particularly satisfying."
JC also has a new assistant women's basketball coach this year.
Rocio Medrano, who played college hoops at Oklahoma Science & Arts (NAIA) and plays for the Mexican National team in the off season, will be assisting Ailshie this season.