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Lady Govs basketball begins preseason with exhibition against Cumberland

Austin Peays women's basketball team will open its one-week preseason schedule with a 7 p.m., Nov. 9, exhibition contest against Cumberland (Tenn.). The game is the first of two exhibition games this week. The Lady Govs will host the Perik Jumpers, Saturday, Nov. 13.
Austin Peay's women's basketball team will open its one-week preseason schedule with a 7 p.m., Nov. 9, exhibition contest against Cumberland (Tenn.). The game is the first of two exhibition games this week. The Lady Govs will host the Perik Jumpers, Saturday, Nov. 13.

Head Coach Andy Blackston, in his second year at the helm, returns four starters from last season's team that finished 23-8 overall and captured the Ohio Valley Conference regular-season and tournament titles. However, the one starter not returning, Gerlonda Hardin, was vital to last year's success and replacing her output on both ends of the court will be a priority.

The Lady Govs return juniors Ashley Haynes, a 2004 All-OVC performer, and Kera Bergeron, a 2004 all-tournament selection, from last year's team. Haynes nearly averaged a double-double last season with 11.9 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. Bergeron finished the 2003-04 campaign with a school and OVC record 105 three-point field goals made, making 37.9 percent of her attempts.

Joining that duo is senior Cassandra Peek, who again will handle the reins as point guard. Junior Carden Cobb returns at forward after enjoying a breakout year last season, averaging 8.1 points and 5.1 rebounds per game, but she will not play in the exhibition opener while recovering from knee surgery. Sophomore Missy Booker will return in 2004-05 after missing last season due to a knee injury. She is expected to see time at center but will compete with the Lady Govs two freshmen centers: Robin Leslie and Kellea Reeves.

"These exhibition games are a measuring stick for us," says Blackston. "I hope they can expose our weaknesses, show us what we need to work on and, hopefully, make us better."
—Cody Bush