JONESBORO, AR (astateredwolves.com) – The Arkansas State women's basketball team held its first official practice of the 2015-16 season Wednesday at the HPESS facility on the Arkansas State University campus.
The Red Wolves went through a full practice that included ball-handling, shooting, rebounding, free throw shooting and conditioning drills. A-State will practice again Thursday afternoon at 3 p.m., followed by a pair of off days before returning to the court Sunday night at 6 p.m. at the Convocation Center. All practices are open to the public and A-State women's basketball fans are invited to come out and watch to get an early glimpse of the 2015-16 team. Please check with the A-State women's basketball office before attending practice to ensure start times and location have not changed.
Prior to the start of practice, the A-State women's basketball team took part in an open media session where players and coaches answered questions about the upcoming season.
A-State returns 13 letterwinners from the 2014-15 squad that advanced into the second round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT), including back-to-back Sun Belt Conference Player of the Aundrea Gamble who led the league with 19.2 points per game. The 5-foot-9 senior guard from McKinney, Texas was also named a WBCA Honorable Mention All-American, making her second player in school history to earn All-America status.
Joining Gamble is a group of four other seniors, including All-Sun Belt Conference selection Khadija Brown-Haywood. The Centralia, Ill., native enjoyed a breakout season and averaged 11.5 points per outing. Fellow seniors Amanda Lawson, Jessica Flanery and Brittney Gill also return to make up a strong leadership group for the Red Wolves.
The junior class consists of three battle tested guards, including point guard Jamie Ruffins who drew 29 starts last season. Brittany Fowler and Dominique Oliver also return to give Arkansas State added depth at the guard position.
The sophomore contains a strong mix of backcourt and frontcourt talent. Lauren Bradshaw served as the primary backup to Jasmine Hunt and is poised to take over a starting position this season, while guards Akasha Westbrook and Christyal Holloway should see their playing rise with a year of experience in Boyer's system. Aaliyah Warren, who missed much of the season due to an injury, was granted a redshirt and begins her redshirt freshman year in competition for playing time at the post spot.
A-State's only true freshman, Kylie Ladd, has had a strong summer and preseason campaign and is also poised to push for playing time at the point guard position.
A-State will conduct 28 practices over 40 days, including exhibition games, leading up to regular-season opener at Tennessee Tech on Nov. 14. The Red Wolves home opener is scheduled for Nov. 21 against Wichita State.