Applin eager to get started as new Charleston Southern womens basketball coach
With a lineup of seasoned veterans to call on, Fred Applin is eager to begin his tenure as the women’s basketball coach at Charleston Southern.
Last Head Coaching Job: Hampton University – 1995-97 (16-27)
Career Highlights: Served as assistant at North Carolina, Texas, Wake Forest and Washington
College: Elon College, 1985
LAST SEASON: 17-15, 9-9 (T-5th)
COACH: Fred Applin, 1st season at CSU, 16-27 overall
PLAYERS TO WATCH: F Rachelle Coward, 6-0, sr. (17.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg); F Lakeitha Alston, 6-0, sr. (16.3 ppg, 5.6 rpg); G Helen Terry, 5-5, sr. (10.4 ppg, 2.5 apg); G Erin Bratcher, 5-9, jr. (8.9 ppg, 3.0 rpg).
NOTES: Coward and Alston are legitimate all-conference candidates … CSU was picked to finish sixth in preseason coaches and media poll.
Nov. 10 vs. UNC Greensboro# 2 p.m.
Nov. 12 Southern Wesleyan 7 p.m.
Nov. 20 at North Carolina State 7 p.m.
Nov. 24 Paine 2 p.m.
Nov. 28 at Presbyterian 7 p.m.
Dec. 1 at Wake Forest 2 p.m.
Dec. 12 South Carolina State 7 p.m.
Dec. 17 Trinity Baptist 7 p.m.
Dec. 19 Western Carolina 2 p.m.
Dec. 31 College of Charleston 1 p.m.
Jan. 3 at High Point 7 p.m.
Jan. 5 at Coastal Carolina 2 p.m.
Jan. 10 Liberty 7 p.m.
Jan. 12 Longwood 2 p.m.
Jan. 17 at Winthrop 7 p.m.
Jan. 19 at Radford 3 p.m.
Jan. 24 UNC Asheville 7 p.m.
Jan. 26 Gardner-Webb 2 p.m.
Jan. 31 Radford 7 p.m.
Feb. 2 Winthrop 2 p.m.
Feb. 7 at UNC Asheville 7 p.m.
Feb. 9 at Gardner-Webb 4:30 p.m.
Feb. 16 Presbyterian 2 p.m.
Feb. 21 Coastal Carolina TBA
Feb. 23 Campbell 2 p.m.
Feb. 28 at Longwood 7 p.m.
Mar. 2 at Liberty 2 p.m.
Mar. 6-10 at Big South Tourn. TBA
# at UNC Asheville
Applin, who brings an impressive resume as an assistant at several top 25 programs, inherits a solid cast from a team that won 17 games last season. The new coach has experienced a smooth transition with his new team.
“I have been very impressed, since day one, of this team’s commitment and focus to being the best they can be this season,” said Applin, who served a two-year stint at Hampton University in his only other head coaching position. “We have players who understand the game and they have a great attitude. They have been there every day, working hard, and have been very supportive.”
Not only does Charleston Southern return talent and experience, but the Lady Bucs will also play a similar style under Applin that they played under former coach Julie Goodenough, who led CSU to 50 wins in her last three seasons at the school before leaving to coach the women’s team at Abilene Christian University in Texas.
Expect CSU to shoot three-pointers and run the floor. The Lady Bucs attempted 854 shots from beyond the arc last season and were annually among the nation’s leaders in three-point attempts and percentage in Goodenough’s system.
“We are going to shoot the three and push the basketball to create open floor opportunities,” says Applin. “Our strength is on the perimeter but we also want to score in the post. We have to get our post players more involved on the offensive end of the floor.”
Leading the way for the Lady Bucs this season are senior forwards Rachelle Coward and Lakeitha Alston, the team’s top two scorers a year ago.
Coward averaged 17.9 points and made 94 three-pointers in her first season after transferring from Charlotte.
Alston, a fourth-year starter at CSU, averaged 16.3 points and 5.6 rebounds while shooting 52 percent from the floor.
“Both Rachelle and Lakeitha are talented, experienced players who I expect big things from,” said Applin. “I think both are capable of all-conference type seasons and we will lean on their experience and leadership a lot this season.”
Junior guard Erin Bratcher started 15 games last season and averaged 8.9 points per game while shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc. Her 59 made three-pointers was second on the team.
Junior forward Anicia Dotson aids Alston in the paint. Dotson started every game as a sophomore, scoring 8.1 points and pulling down 4.8 rebounds per game.
Whitney Collins is a 6-2 sophomore post player that will be counted on for more minutes this season. Redshirt junior Carra Coy is a 6-6 center who prepped at Northwood Academy before signing with Liberty and transferring back home last season.
Junior D.J. Fowler is a transfer from St. Petersburg College and will be counted on at the point, along with returning seniors Kiki Rutledge and Helen Terry. Senior Shay Jones (6.7 ppg) and junior Kirklin Kirkpatrick add depth in the backcourt.
Applin says the three biggest keys to success this season are rebounding, defense and health. The coach envisions his team playing man-to-man pressure defense but says making shots and rebounding missed shots will be the key. CSU was out-rebounded by eight boards per game last season.
“In looking at tape from last year, rebounding was an obvious area of weakness,” the coach said. “I think defensively and offensively, we can compete with anyone. The rebounding has to improve. We have stressed it and worked very hard at becoming a better rebounding team. Games can be won or lost on one rebound. Basketball is a game of possessions and we can give ourselves a better chance if we rebound the ball as a team.”
Applin may be new to the Big South Conference but he has been around the block enough to know that all roads to a championship go through Lynchburg, Va., and perennial powerhouse Liberty.
“They have raised the bar very high in this league and they are the obvious favorite,” Applin said. “We want to win championships here. We know how far we have to go but I think we’re certainly capable of doing great things here.”