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Troy to depend on veterans, new talent

When the Troy women’s basketball team opens its season Nov. 13 against Auburn, the Trojans will rely on a mix of experience and new talent.

The Trojans must replace departed senior and all-time Troy great Kylie Morrissy, as well as starting point guard Larelle Roper and three-point specialist Danielle Realph.

“All three kids in the four years they were here were major contributors,” coach Michael Murphy said. “Kylie is obviously the head of that list, and is probably the best player we’ve had here.”

Returning for the Trojans, however, are players such as Brittnie Davis, Sarah McAppion, Alyce Shearing, Kirsten ‘Mookie” Smith, Donette McNair and Lucy Lindley.

“I think all have worked pretty hard over the off-season,” Murphy said. “All of them came in in very good shape, and have put in a great deal of time trying to get themselves ready to play. We have really good kids in this program that understand what it means to work hard.”

However, there are also new players that Murphy said should contribute.

“Sophie Kleeman is a freshman from Australia who is going to get a lot of playing time,” Murphy said.

The Trojans also added Birmingham native Cortney Hawkins and Atlanta native Jamesha Blake, both of whom are expected to play.

“You’ve got Cortney Hawkins, who is long and can be very athletic in the post,” Murphy said. “She’s shown some moments of real promise. Jamesha Blake is another long freshman.”

While the new players will be deepened upon to step up and play well for Troy, Murphy said he is looking for a breakout season from McAppion.

“McAppion is coming back for her sophomore season, and she had some real bright moments last year,” Murphy said. “She was a little inconsistent, but if she can get consistent with her level of defense, I think she can be a real, real surprise for us this year. She’s a terrific shooter and a very smart player.”

However, with the game against Auburn just a week away, the Trojans must get their new players on the same page as the veterans very quickly.

“The challenging part for us is getting our new people on board and ready to go over the next 10 days because they’re going to have to come in and play some minutes,” Murphy said. “How many minutes, I don’t know. The success of sour season will be determined on how quickly the new people can get a grasp of just how hard you have to play at this level.”

The Trojans and Tigers tip off the season Nov. 13 at 6 p.m. in Auburn.