WINTER PARK, Fla. (October 17, 2018) – Squeaking sneakers and the sound of bouncing balls returned to the Alfond Sports Center Tuesday evening as Rollins women's basketball held its first practice of the 2018-19 season.
Head coach Glenn Wilkes Jr. enters his 33rd year at the helm of the program and carries a 697-249 career record into the season. He has the fourth-most wins in Division II women's basketball history and ranks 15th all-time in winning percentage. Among all divisions, Wilkes ranks 17th in victories of active coaches and is looking to become the 30th coach to surpass 700 career victories.
A very challenging schedule looms ahead for the Tars with seven games against NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago.
Two exhibition tune-ups start the season off as the Tars welcome Hillsborough Community College (Oct. 26) and Daytona State (Oct. 29) to Warden Arena.
The regular season starts with a home date against Webber International on Friday, November 9. The Tars then head to Melbourne Nov. 16-17 for the Florida Tech Classic, facing Flagler and New York Tech.
The annual Thanksgiving Tournament features possibly the most challenging field in its history. Rollins opens play Nov. 23 against Puerto Rico Mayaguez with Hillsdale and USciences on the other side of the bracket. Hillsdale won the G-Mac Conference Tournament a year ago while USciences went 30-4, won the CACC regular season and tournament titles and advanced to the NCAA East Region Championship game. The consolation of the event is set for noon on Nov. 24 with the championship game to follow at 2 p.m.
The first month of the season closes Wednesday, Nov. 28 with the Sunshine State Conference opener at home against Embry-Riddle. The Eagles were 24-8 last season and advanced to the second round of the NCAA South Region Tournament.
December features a home game against Lynn (Dec. 1), on the road at Palm Beach Atlantic (Dec. 7) and a non-conference home game with Trinity Christian (Dec. 17) before the holiday break. A trip to Saint Leo on Dec. 29 then closes the calendar year.
Rollins hosts a pair to start 2019, welcoming Nova Southeastern (Jan. 2) and Barry (Jan. 5) to Winter Park. They follow with trips to Tampa (Dec. 9) and Eckerd (Dec. 12). EC was third in the SSC last season and earned a spot in the NCAA South Region Tournament.
Defending SSC Champions Florida Southern visits Rollins Jan. 19 and they Tars stay home for the next one, hosting Florida Tech on Jan. 23 for the SSC first half finale.
The back half of the home-and-home SSC schedule starts with a trip to Lynn on Jan. 26 and continues with a visit to Embry-Riddle Jan. 30. After playing everyone in the league a second time, the regular season concludes with a trip to Florida Southern on Saturday, March 2.
The SSC Tournament is slated for March 6-10 with the semifinal and finals hosted at Nova Southeastern in Ft. Lauderdale. The NCAA South Region Tournament runs March 15-18 and the Elite Eight is March 26-29 in Columbus, Ohio.
Top offensive player from last season and 1,000 point scorer Julia Ingler (13.8 ppg) headlines four graduated seniors who each leave a void on the Tars 2018-19 roster. Seniors Vernisha Andrews and Carly McLendon are joined by four juniors, four sophomores and five newcomers looking to continue the Tars run of success.
Junior Denise Daniels is the top returning scorer after putting up 9.2 points a game last season while also hauling in 5.4 rebounds a night. Andrews led the team in rebounding with 8.3 a game and added eight points a night. Jaylyn Harrison posted 8.5 points and 2.8 assists a game for the Tars. McLendon continued to be one of the top defensive players in the nation with 7.7 rebounds and a conference second-best 2.7 blocks per game. Returning to the line-up and providing a big boost in the middle is Tianna Rosser. The junior played in two games a year ago and was on pace to average a season double-double before suffering a season-ending injury.
All Rollins games can be found live on the Tars Sports Network at RollinsSportsLive.com with students from Full Sail University's Dan Patrick School of Sportscasting on the call for home games. The network is part of the new SunshineStateConference.tv. distribution network. Robert Segal will continue to call both home and road games on WPRK, 91.5 FM locally and worldwide at RollinsSportsLive.com.