"A lot of people want to come to Centre. They wanted to come and play basketball, and I feel like they all have great potential down the road to help us," the coach said.
Two of them are expected to start when the Colonels open their season Nov. 21 against Spalding. But they also return most of last year's roster, with nine of its top 11 scorers back.
Among them is the most valuable player, junior guard Chelsea Goodman, who has led Centre in scoring for two straight seasons and made the all-SCAC third team in both years.
Goodman averaged 13.2 points per game last year and also led Centre in rebounds (6.0), assists (3.0), steals (1.7) and blocked shots (0.6). At 5-6, she's shorter than three of the other four probable starters, but she'll probably play the three position.
"She's done a great job for us this fall. You know what Chelsea's going to give you," Austin-Robinson said.
Centre's two seniors, 5-5 guard Alison Denbow (5.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists) and 5-8 forward Rebecca Rhule (4.1 points), were both part-time starters last year, and Austin-Robinson said they'll be in the lineup when this season begins.
Two juniors who were part-time starters last year, Stanford native Jenny Jones (7.5 points, 4.0 rebounds) and Harrodsburg native Chrystal Claunch (6.9 points, 2.6 assists, will be slowed or sidelined by injuries when the season begins.
Jones, a forward, had gall bladder surgery late last month, and Austin-Robinson said she will be out of action until early December. Claunch, a guard whose sophomore season ended after eight games due to a knee injury, is still recovering from her surgery.
The other probable starters are freshmen, 6-2 forward Lauren Huter and 5-9 guard Maggie Prewitt. Austin-Robinson said Huter is a long, lanky post player, while Prewitt is a tall, strong point guard and only the second Centre recruit to play for the Kentucky all-stars.
"We're very confident with Maggie running the point," Austin-Robinson said.
Prewitt is the daughter of Lea Wise Prewitt, who coached Centre from 1984-89 and led the Colonels to their first Division III Final Four appearance in the last of her five seasons in Danville.
Austin-Robinson said the presence of Huter on the inside has helped returning post player Keonia Masterson (4.8 points, 3.1 rebounds), a junior from Stanford.
"It's made Keonia better," Austin-Robinson said. "Definitely our post play will be better with Lauren and Keonia."
Other returnees include three sophomores: guards Amanda Stovall (3.9 points) and Angela Tronzo (2.2) and forward Chelsea Luckey (2.1).
The freshman class is large enough to allow Centre to play a four-game junior varsity schedule for the first time, and Austin-Robinson said the old and new players are blending well together.
"They've done a great job embracing each other," she said.
However, the Centre coach said there is still much for the newcomers to learn.
"We do a lot of motion offense, a lot of quick sets, and we've still got a lot of work to do with the freshman class," she said.