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Palmer set to begin 30th season with HCC

November 08, 2008|By JACK HILL III

Marlys Palmer is preparing to start her 30th season as the women's basketball coach at Hagerstown Community College.

"It is unbelievable," said Palmer, who has a career record of 530-316 with the Hawks. "It has been challenging and exciting. It has also been fun. I have had quite a few girls that have moved on to four-year schools."

HCC finished with an impressive 25-5 overall record last season and won the regular-season championship in the Maryland JuCo Conference with a 12-1 conference mark.

Palmer wants this season's team to establish its own identity.

"We want to go out and do our best each time out," Palmer said. "We don't want to compare ourselves to last year's team. We always say that we want to be the last team standing in March. But it is a long road between now and March. We want to be able to come out and compete every night. Hopefully, we can win some ballgames."

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The Hawks have experience on their side as nine of the 11 players are sophomores, including seven returnees.

Four of the returnees come from North Hagerstown: Guards Cara Thompson, Shawayna Morel, Valentina Wheeler and Veronica Wheeler. Forward Amy Rhoderick and guard Alex Baker are two more returnees from Boonsboro. Forward Tiffani Porter (Woodbridge, Va.) is the other.

Guard Sade Williams (South Hagerstown) played for HCC two years ago and returns for this season, while forward Kayce Pierce (South Lakes, Fla.) is a sophomore transfer from Miami Dade Community College.

The only two freshmen are guards Ricia Brown (Clarksburg, Md.) and Miranda Payne from Cumberland Valley Christian School in Chambersburg, Pa.

Palmer knows that the schedule is not an easy one.

"The competition in the conference gets tougher and tougher every year," Palmer said. "You have to come out and be ready to play every night, because on any night, anybody can beat you. I feel that all 11 players will see some playing time. There are several different combinations that I can use."

Palmer wants to stress defense.

"We are a defensive-minded basketball team," Palmer said. "The key for us might be how well that we play defense. I think we have a little bit of speed. We like to run if we can. But you have to play defense in order for that to work. That is what we look at. Defense is a big part of the running game."

Palmer will have special strategies for her team's scoring and rebounding.

"I think our scoring will come from different players on every night out," Palmer said. "I think we will have a well-balanced scoring attack. We're not a big team. That is not a strong point for us this year. I don't think that we are going to outjump anybody. So, we are going to have to outrebound somebody by boxing people out."

HCC will host a season-opening mixer this weekend as it will play in the second game both tonight and Sunday -- against Essex (N.J.) tonight a 7 and then TCI from New York City on Sunday at 3.

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