CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Natasha Lowe knows Hurricane will endure its fair share of ups and downs in her first season as coach of the girls basketball program.
However, she also believes the payoff could be huge.
Lowe isn't just in her first year coaching the Redskins basketball team. It's her first time coaching the sport after previously coaching the middle school softball team.
She also inherits a group of mostly underclassmen. Of the 15 players on the roster, only two are seniors with one junior. Seven sophomores and five freshmen fill out the rest of the team.
Lowe is happy for the opportunity, and with such a young team, knows the future looks bright.
"I'm really excited, nervous and anxious at the same time," Lowe said. "This is all new to me. It was rewarding but also a little stressful at the high school level. My husband is the assistant and has coached two years at Dunbar Middle School, so he has been helping me along the way.
"It is good, especially since we can grow together. We have a really young team with a lot of sophomores and freshmen. It's great to know we have them not just for this year but for years to come as well."
Lowe has a standout building block at her disposal in the form of guard Abby Watson, who was the Daily Mail All-Kanawha Valley Freshman of the Year last season. She is coming off an impressive first year that saw her average 14.9 points per game, sixth best in the area.
"Abby is a leader, works hard and knows the game," Lowe said. "She has played a lot of travel ball and has a natural ability. She is one of my go-to people with everything. It really helps having her back. It's big."
The Redskins did lose standout Allie Browne, who averaged 18.9 points per game last season, to graduation, but return a lot of players with experience to go along with Watson.
Guard Callie McClanahan is back, along with post players Brooke Crompton and Tanisha Sturdavent. Audrey Barber and Hannah Thompson also return to help out the rotation. Sophomores Courtney Rogers and Cassi Sargent, along with freshman Kelly Kesler will also help.
Despite not coaching basketball to any of the players on the team, Lowe, who currently teaches physical education and health at Hurricane High, doesn't see it as a concern since she has familiarity with a lot of them.
"I coached three of them (Sargent, Rogers and Crompton) in middle school softball so that works out well," Lowe said. "I have a relationship with them, knowing what their ability is and how hard they work. And I have a lot of the girls in class."