North Texas Daily

Women’s basketball team optimistic headed into the season

Women’s basketball team optimistic headed into the season

Women’s basketball team optimistic headed into the season
November 07
17:39 2013

Akshay Mirchandani / Staff Writer

In the preseason poll for Conference USA, the Mean Green women’s basketball were projected to finish 12th out of 16 teams. However, they did receive one first place vote and it came from their head coach, Mike Petersen.

“I voted for us to win it,” Petersen said. “Now, I don’t know whether that will happen or not, but I don’t understand going into a season where your goal is not to compete. Like I said, whether we can get to that or not I don’t know. But I know this – we’re going to try.”

Going into the offseason, Petersen said he knew his team had to get better and had to learn to finish games. Last season, the Mean Green went 11-19 – with eight of those losses decided by five points or less.

“We were six possessions last year from winning 17 games, but that’s basketball,” Petersen said. “Every team in America is going to play a number of one possession games and the question is, do you make that one extra play?”

A big aspect to this year’s team is that they have had a year to learn to learn Petersen’s system. This is his second year as the head coach and the team better understands how to run his fast-paced style of play.

“I know what the expectations are,” sophomore forward Alexis Hyder said. “Now I can help the freshman because last year we were all kind of freshman. We were all new to the system.”

Despite the optimism, there are already challenges facing the Mean Green. Guard Loryn Goodwin, who was the Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year, elected to transfer to Butler University. Goodwin was the team’s second leading scorer last year with 13.1 points per game and started 19 of the 30 games.

“I don’t really worry about how you replace this player or that player. I never have,” Petersen said. “We have good players. We have a group that I like and a group that will play closer to the way I would like us to play.”

There are a few players on the roster that will be able to play this season after sitting out last year because of NCAA transfer rules. Briesha Wynn is a junior forward who last played college basketball at Texas Christian University, while junior guard Taylor Hooker transferred after starting her career at the University of Tulsa.

Petersen said he expected both players to contribute to the team this year. However Hooker will be out until December after giving birth to her first child.

“This year, we definitely have a lot of depth. So if someone gets in foul trouble or needs fresh legs, we can get people off the bench that will contribute,” senior guard Laura McCoy said. “We have girls like Briesha from TCU. She’s played college basketball – she knows what it’s about.”

This will also be the team’s first season in C-USA, which will provide tougher competition as opposed to the Sun Belt Conference.

“[There’re] new teams. We haven’t played them for three years, so we don’t know what to expect,” McCoy said. “A lot is going to go into the scouting reports, and we’re not going to know what positions we’re going against. We’re going to have to learn it all.”

The team has set a number of goals for themselves such as winning all of its home games, not losing games back to back and winning Conference USA.

“They have us ranked to finish at 12th and it’s not acceptable for us,” Hyder said. “Our goals are much higher than that and our expectations for ourselves are much higher than that, so we just have to display that.”

Feature photo: Senior guard Desiree Nelson controls the ball during a home game against Troy on Jan. 2. Photo courtesy of meangreensports.com

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