The Brenau University Golden Tigers basketball team has a few familiar faces, but a host of new ones as they begin the 2013-2014 campaign.
Returning senior guard Brittney Wiley (Royson, GA) is a two time SSAC All-East selection who surpassed 1,000 points during her junior season. Wiley is joined by her backcourt partner, Tala Black (Marietta, GA), a three-year standout. The Golden Tigers also return seniors Anela Durmic (Grayson, GA), an excellent athlete and scorer, Kaitlin Fleming (Mt. Airy, GA), a shooter and Anastasia Minaeva (Moscow, Russia). Minaeva, who has struggled with injuries throughout her career, returns to provide depth at point guard.
The Golden Tigers also return three returning sophomores, Anikee Combee (Jonesboro, Ga.), Myka Lightfoot (Riverdale, Ga.) and Claire Zimmerman (Woodstock, Ga.). Combee, who only played in four games last season due to a knee injury, is expected to build off the excellent start to her freshman season. Lightfoot and Zimmerman provide solid outside shooting for the Golden Tigers also.
Three transfers highlight the nine newest members of the squad. Newcomer Jasmine Butler (Gainesville, Ga.), a junior transfer who previously played at Truett-McConnell (Ga.) College, was an SSAC all-East selection as a freshman. Sophomore Jasmine Williams (Palmetto, Ga.), formerly of Georgia College, provides legitimate size and experience for the Golden Tiger frontcourt. Sophomore Kalin Williams (Palmetto, Ga.), a transfer from Oglethorpe (GA) University, was recognized as an all-conference selection during her freshman season as well.
The Golden Tigers also have six new freshmen on the roster. Makayla Angel (Pickens, Ga.), an all-region guard, is a very heady player who will add to the team's solid outside shooting. Tori Alfredsson (Flowery Branch, Ga.), a local player from West Hall High School, will provide toughness and athleticism. Quinnesha Turner (Winterville, Ga.), an all-region and all-Northwest selection from Cedar Shoals High School, has outstanding quickness and passing ability.
After graduating all of their front court players, including NAIA All-American Gabby Harvey and 1,000 point career scorer Nikki Reed, the Golden Tigers look some younger players to fill the void. Nekeia Brown (Daniesville, Ga.), a 5'11 post player from Madison County High School, is an all-region selection that will provide size, scoring and strength in the post. Maegan Kenimer (Gainesville, Ga.), another local player from Chestatee High School, is also an all-region selection and will contribute early. Carly Kluttz (Gastonia, NC), is a versatile player who can play both inside and out.
"This new class of players gives us depth and scoring," said head coach Kris Stewart. "I am very pleased with the entire team's work ethic and dedication during the preseason. We have added some really nice players to a solid core, and I believe that once we gain some experience, we will be a very solid team. I believe our conference is one of the toughest in the nation, and we are going to have to compete every night".
The Golden Tigers play a rigorous schedule, including conference games versus five NAIA Top-25 vote recipients from the preseason 2013-2014 poll. Brenau opens on the road versus Montreat (NC) College on November 2nd.