Tarleton will unofficially begin the 2015-16 season Thursday night with a women’s basketball exhibition game against Hardin-Simmons at 6 p.m. in Wisdom Gym.
Thursday’s exhibition game against Hardin-Simmons is free of charge.
Entering the third season under head coach Melanie Chonko, the Cowgirls look to improve on their 12-win season from a year ago. The Cowgirls made a four-win improvement from the first to second season under Chonko – going from eight wins in her first season to 12 wins last season. Hardin-Simmons returns three key players who averaged over 8.0 points per game last year, including Sara Vargas (11.6 ppg).
While this game does not count as an official meeting between the TexAnns and Cowgirls, the series between Tarleton and Hardin-Simmons goes back to 1979. The TexAnns and Cowgirls have met 14 times in the regular season with Tarleton holding an 11-3 advantage, but they have not played an official game against each other since Tarleton joined in the NCAA in 1994.
Tarleton State was picked to finish fifth in the Lone Star Conference preseason rankings during the LSC’s Online Basketball Media Day in October. The TexAnns received 135 total votes, which was just behind Cameron (140) and ahead of Texas A&M-Commerce (128). West Texas A&M, Texas Woman’s, and Midwestern State were named the top three in the poll.
Morgan Ashmore enters the 2015-16 season with 244 career assists, which currently has her at No. 12 on the all-time list. She is 38 assists away from taking the No. 11 spot from Jenn Doroga (281). She is 47 assists shy of jumping into the top 10 by passing Tina Proctor (290).
IMPROVING ON ROOKIE YEAR
In her first season at the helm, Misty Wilson put together the best season of a rookie head coach at Tarleton since the school became an NCAA institution in 1994. Wilson won 17 games in her first year, topping Ronnie Hearne’s 14 wins in his first year with Tarleton in 2003.
Tarleton added five fresh faces to the mix this offseason, primarily at the guard position. Karah Sicurella (Sunnyvale HS), Nia Jackson (Mansfield Summit HS), and Shelby Mankins (Joshua HS) join the TexAnn back court while Catherine Okwilagwe (Lakeview Centennial HS) is Tarleton’s lone post addition this offseason. Shelby Drews, a guard from Decatur, is also in her first season with Tarleton and is expected to redshirt as a true freshman.
UP NEXT FOR TARLETON
Tarleton will officially begin the season next Friday, November 13 when the TexAnns host the TexAnn Tip-Off Classic in Wisdom Gym. Tarleton will open the season against Concordia-Irvine Friday and wrap up the tournament against Texas A&M International Saturday at 5 p.m.