By Michelle Dreiling
“Practices are going good.” said Dave Denly, head coach. “We’ve had injuries and sickness so we’ve not had a full squad any of the days that we’ve practiced over the last two weeks but we’ve had pretty good energy and focus from our kids and I feel like we’re making progress.”
The Builders’ first opponent will be Mid-America Christian University Nov. 5 in Oklahoma City. The MACU Lady Evangels are in the NCCAA Division I and were picked ninth in the Sooner Athletic Conference this season. “We’ve played them every year over the last 3 or 4 years. They’re very comparable to our conference. I think they, on given nights, could play as well as anyone in our league. The toughest thing will be first game jitters, a lot of kids are new to the program or coming back and haven’t played for a year or so, so they’re going to be working on chemistry and timing. It’s going to be interesting. I think we’re going to be excited, and the energy level is going to be there. It’s just whether or not we’re executing like we can at this time of the year,” said Denly.
This year’s offense is going to be slightly different than last year. “We’re going to run some motion and some stuff we ran last year, but we’ve changed it slightly to adjust to the personnel we have. Obviously it’s going to be different. [Kara Beal] was such a big part of what we did last year, and given all the freshmen we had last year she had to take on an even bigger role. But this year with getting Tylar Hartfield back to go inside, [Jordan] Cossman back on the perimeter, and adding some more weapons offensively, we’re not going to rely on one person near as much as we did last year. I really want this team to be more balanced across the board. We’re going to be a lot more up tempo this year than we were last year.”
Recent practices have helped the team become more focused. Anna Pruitt, junior guard, said, “The hardest part about practice is just putting everything together with everyone learning the new plays and defense. I’m looking forward to getting ready for conference and improving as a team before conference play starts.”
Sara Maxwell, junior forward, said, “The first few weeks of practice are always hard because we have to put so much work in before we start playing games but we’re also learning how to play with each other the way that Coach knows will win games. Sickness and injuries are always a problem but we have a really deep team and we know that no matter how deep on the bench we have to go, that person will do everything they can to help the team get a win. We’re always ready to play. At this point we won’t be perfect by any means, but we know enough to get wins.”
“We’re just really excited about getting the season underway. We’re looking forward to having a very successful year, and our goal is to win the conference championship.” said Denly.
Michelle Dreiling is a senior majoring in Communication. You may email her at email@example.com.