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New Mantra Sets the Course for Eastern Florida State College Women's Basketball

Oct. 24, 2013 - Play tough, play hard, play smart, play together.

That's the mantra for the 2013-2014 Eastern Florida State College women's basketball team under new head coach Jim Grimes.

Grimes replaced head coach Renee Bellamy and breathed fresh life into the program with nine new players on the 12-woman roster. Only three sophomore players return from last season's 3-27 team: guard and co-captain 5-foot, 8-inch Tomoriya Hamm of Fort Lauderdale, FL and Fort Lauderdale High, and 5-10 forwards Kiersten Colgan of Melbourne, FL and Satellite High and Kendall Hedgecock of Vero Beach, FL and Vero Beach High.

New are freshmen guards and co-captains Jessica Doyle (5-6), who scored 1,000 points in her four seasons at Palm Bay Heritage High and led Brevard County in scoring last season and Rhaeven Kemp (5-7) of Liberty High School in Jackson, TN; guards Dejah Bradshaw (5-5) of Miami's American Senior High; Alex Wilhelm (5-6) of Ocala, FL and Vanguard High; and Kansas Best (5-6) of Melbourne, FL and Viera High. Also, forwards Mariah Deckard (5-8) of Melbourne, FL and Viera High; Rachelle Aupont (5-9) of Orlando, FL and Edgewater High; Kristina Bugarski (6-0) of Belgrade, Serbia and The Rock School in Gainesville, FL; and Alyssa Nesbitt (6-0) of Palm Bay, FL and Melbourne High.

Grimes also brought in new assistant coaches Aerial Wilson who played 125 games at NCAA Division I Virginia Tech, former Brevard Community College two-year player Olivia Atwell and fellow BCC alumnus Gwen Chappell who went on to play two seasons at Division II Florida Tech.

The new-look Titans debut at the Nov. 1-2 Trinity Classic in Jacksonville, FL, where they play Florida College and Johnson & Wales, and open their home season at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 12 against the Webber International junior varsity. Admission to Eastern Florida home games is free.

The Titans also will face top-flight competition in the Nov. 7-9 Chipola Classic at Chipola College in Marianna, FL, the Nov. 15-16 College of Central Florida Tournament in Ocala and the Dec. 6-7 Florida JUCO Shootout in Gainesville.

Eastern Florida begins its 15-game Florida College System Activities Association Southern Conference schedule on Saturday, Jan. 4 at Broward College in Davie, FL. Other conference foes are defending champion St. Petersburg College, Miami Dade College, Palm Beach State College and Indian River State College.

It's a tough schedule for what Grimes hopes is a tough team. And he has drilled his players toward that goal stressing conditioning, fitness, discipline and togetherness.

"I think the thing we will do well is work hard," Grimes said. "We talked a lot about that. I encourage each of them every day to be the hardest worker in the room. I tell them to hold each other accountable to that standard."

The attitude is rubbing off.

"People want it more here now, we all want it," Kemp said. "We're not going to sit up and wait for it to happen. We're going to go get it."

Grimes is hoping the aggressive approach and overall team speed can compensate for a lack of height and experience and that his team buys into his approach of continual improvement.

"How we'll do, how many games we'll win, we can't control that. I don't think a lot about that. I don't talk to the team a lot about winning and losing games. I talk to them about the next 15 minutes, let's get better.

"I want them to get better every single day. I want them to work hard every single day. And focus on our process. That's our process. That's what we focus on, that's what we talk about. The results are going to take care of themselves."

But don't mistake Grimes' big picture approach as overlooking the small details. A stickler for doing things the right way from not walking during practice to the players respecting themselves, each other and the game, he demands a lot.

"I expect a lot but I love them a lot," Grimes said. "They understand when I'm tough on them, when I'm pushing them it comes from a place of love. It comes from a place of wanting them to be the best they can be, not only as players but as people. To be people of character, to be people who work hard. To be those things so you'll play that way. So it comes naturally.

"I want them to know I expect them to be tough. I want them to be tough mentally. I want them to be tough physically. Those are things they have to be for us to reach our goals as a basketball team. But those also are things they have to be in their life. It's something we emphasize a lot."

The approach is working.

"I'm pretty sure we're going to really be tough this year," Hedgecock said. "And hard to beat."