Nov. 7, 2012
FAYETTEVILLE, NC – The Fayetteville State women’s basketball team is set to begin its 2012-13 season on Friday evening with 5:30 p.m. contest against the Barber-Scotia Sabers at Felton J. Capel Arena.
Fayetteville State is coming off a 2011-12 season which saw it post an 11-15 overall record and 5-11 CIAA record. Fayetteville State finished fourth in the CIAA Southern Division with a 4-6 divisional record. The Lady Broncos return 11 letter winners from last year’s squad, which also includes four starters.
FSU is adapting the motto “Team First, Make It Matter” as it enters the 2012-13 campaign, the fourth under head coach Eva Patterson-Heath. She currently holds a career record of 37-46 and led the Lady Broncos to CIAA Championship in 2009-10, her first season, and won 20 games overall.
Patterson-Heath is beginning her 28th season overall as a head coach both on the collegiate and high school levels. Regardless, she says, the beginning of every season is just as exciting as the last.
“It is exciting no matter how long I have done it,” she said. “There is an air of apprehension on the season and expectations. There is excitement because you want to see where you are, but still realize there is a long way to go. A lot of basketball is still left to be practiced and played.”
Fayetteville State was picked to finish fifth in the CIAA Southern Division by the CIAA Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. Lady Broncos guard Akysia Resper (Jr., Concord, NC) was named to the 2012-13 All-CIAA Preseason Basketball Team.
“We can use it as motivation based on the returning players that we have and how the team played better at the end of the year,” Patterson-Heath said. “But we don’t want to dwell on it because it is just a prediction and the season is just beginning. The most important part is where you are at the end of the season.”
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Resper led the Lady Broncos in scoring during the 2011-12 season as she averaged 12.9 points per game, while being the only player on last season’s roster to start and play in all 26 games. She was named a team captain for this season along with guard Brittany Whitehead (Sr., Enfield, NC) and forward/center Shuanda Ashford (Sr., Fayetteville, NC). Whitehead played in all 26 games last season. Ashford transferred from East Carolina and is a product of E.E. Smith High School in Fayetteville.
“Akysia has developed more confidence in herself every day,” added Patterson-Heath. “It allows us to have more scorers and shooters to relieve pressure from her. Last season everyone knew she was our best player.”
Fayetteville State will play a 26-game regular season schedule in 2012-13, with 12 of those contests coming at home.
“We have a very competitive schedule this season,” said Patterson-Heath. “None of the teams we face will be easy. All are very challenging.”