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College of Charleston women 'building a winning culture' under new basketball coach

Deja Ford

College of Charleston's Deja Ford averaged 9.7 points and three rebounds last season for the Cougars. Provided 

It’s been six years since the College of Charleston’s women’s basketball program has had a winning season.

New College of Charleston head coach Robin Harmony is hoping to change that sooner rather than later.

Harmony has a history of building programs. She started the women’s basketball program at St. Thomas (Fla.) University, posting a 131-48 mark and leading the Bobcats to three NAIA Tournament appearances. Harmony took over a struggling Lamar program and in six seasons won 115 games, including three Southland Conference championships and led the Cardinals to four national postseason tournaments.

“Building a winning culture is something we talk about all the time,” Harmony said. “You have to learn how to win, and if you haven’t won on a consistent basis, it takes a lot of hard work to do it. It takes time to change the culture.”

The Cougars were 39-113 over the past five seasons under former coach Candice M. Jackson. If the Cougars are going to record their first winning season since 2013-14, they’ll do it with their defense, specifically their full-court press.

“Our press will wear an opponent down,” Harmony said. “As long as we rebound and don’t give up second-chance points, we’ll be in good shape. You have to be in really good shape to run our press. We win games in the fourth quarter because we’re in better shape than whoever we’re playing.”

At Lamar, Harmony’s teams were always among the nation’s leaders in steals and turnover-ratio.

“Turnovers will gives us transition points, and everywhere we’ve been we’ve either led the nation in steals or turnover-ratio,” Harmony said. 

Deja Ford, a senior, will be counted on heavily this season. Ford averaged 12.2 points and 4.4 rebounds a game last season. She was third team All-CAA and needs just 243 points to reach the 1,000-point mark, which would make her the 28th player in program history to reach that milestone.

“Deja is very gifted offensively, she’s capable of scoring 20 points every time she steps on the floor,” Harmony said. “We know that Deja has some deficiencies defensively, but she’s got a huge heart and wants to win.”

Latrice Perkins and Arynn Eady are expected to have breakout seasons.

College of Charleston Women

Last season: 7-23, 3-15 (10th in CAA)

Coach: Robin Harmony, first season at CofC; 246-114 in 14 seasons.

Notable: Senior Deja Ford was named a preseason honorable mention All-CAA. ... The Cougars' last winning season came during the 2013-14 season.

CofC Women's Schedule

Nov. 6 George Mason 6:30 p.m.

Nov. 8 at Wake Forest 7 p.m.

Nov. 10 at High Point 2 p.m.

Nov. 12 Coker 6 p.m.

Nov. 15 N.C. Central 6:30 p.m.

Nov. 19 at S.C. State 6:30 p.m.

Nov. 22 at Presbyterian 11 a.m.

Dec. 1 at Winthrop 2 p.m.

Dec. 16 UNC-Greensboro 6:30 p.m.

Dec. 20 Charleston Southern 6 p.m.

Dec. 30 Western Carolina 6:30 p.m.

Jan. 3 Drexel 6:30 p.m.

Jan. 5 Delaware 1 p.m.

Jan. 10 at Elon 7 p.m.

Jan. 12 at William & Mary 2 p.m.

Jan. 17 Towson 6;30 p.m.

Jan. 19 James Madison 1 p.m.

Jan. 26 UNC-Wilmington 1 p.m.

Jan. 31 at Northeastern 7 p.m.

Feb. 2 at Hofstra 1 p.m.

Feb. 7 William & Mary noon

Feb. 9 Elon 1 p.m.

Feb. 14 at James Madison noon

Feb. 16 at Towson 2 p.m.

Feb. 23 at UNC-Wilmington 2 p.m.

Feb. 28 Hofstra 6:30 p.m.

March 1 Northeastern 1 p.m.

March 5 at Delaware 7 p.m.

March 7 at Drexel noon

March 11-14 CAA Tournament at Elon

Reach Andrew Miller at 843-937-5599. Follow him on Twitter @APMILLER_PandC

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