North Texas Daily

Women’s basketball welcomes the tougher competition of C-USA

Women’s basketball welcomes the tougher competition of C-USA

Women’s basketball welcomes the tougher competition of C-USA
November 20
12:47 2013

Jeremy Eackles / Intern Writer

A new era of Mean Green women’s basketball begins this season, entering its inaugural season as one of the eight new members of Conference USA. The new conference has a history of success, with 160 postseason appearance, 15 NCAA Tournament Final Four appearances and four national title teams among its members.

UNT is leaving behind the Sun Belt Conference, where the team finished with a 7-9 conference record during its final season and a 97-118 record overall.

Second-year head coach Mike Petersen said he is looking forward to making the switch to Conference USA, but admits it will be an adjustment phase playing against different teams.

“Anytime you enter a new conference, the biggest challenge is always learning the new teams,” Petersen said. “Every conference has a different personality.”

Two of the tougher opponents the Mean Green will be playing against this year are the University of Texas-El Paso and Tulane University.

Tulane University was picked in the Conference USA preseason women’s coaches poll to finish second in Conference USA after an 11-5 conference play record last year, while UTEP was picked to finish third with a conference play record of 8-8 last year.

With tougher competition expected in the new conference, UNT will be looking for leadership from its veterans.  It will be returning three seniors: guard Laura McCoy, guard Desiree Nelson and forward Ash’Lynne Evans.

McCoy said she looks forward to the challenge of the new Conference USA competition.

“It is going to be an increased level of competition,” she said. “We just have to make sure we work hard, so we’re ready for the new teams.”

McCoy said one of the teams she looks forwards to playing is Middle Tennessee State University, who was voted to finish first in the preseason women’s basketball poll and is also making the transition from the Sun Belt Conference to C-USA. McCoy has not beaten MTSU during her career with the Mean Green.

As one of the leaders on the team, McCoy has to get her teammates prepared to enter the season in Conference USA.

“The veterans of the team have to help out the younger people on the team,” McCoy said.  “When we play against new teams, we’re not going to know the match-ups as well.”

According to last year’s standings, two teams at the bottom of C-USA include Rice University and Marshall University. Rice had a 6-10 conference record last year and was picked to finish 10th in the pre-season poll, while Marshall had a 3-13 record and was picked to finish last in the conference.

Conference play will officially begin on Wednesday, Jan. 8 when the Mean Green plays at Middle Tennessee State University.

Sophomore forward Acheil Tac will be a key player heading into her second season.

“We just need to get better in all aspects by running the floor, rebounding and playing at our pace,” Tac said. “It’s a whole new set of teams, so I’m just looking forward to playing everybody.”

UNT will have a chance to get a win on the road against MTSU when conference play officially starts on Jan. 8.

Feature photo: Junior forward Briesha Wynn shoots the ball during practice. The women’s basketball team practiced their shots in the Super Pit Monday Afternoon. They are preparing for their next game Wednesday in Houston. Photos By Harris Buchanan/ Staff Photographer

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