Lady Aggies prepare for season
Even though Cameron University’s basketball season does not officially begin until Nov. 14, both Aggie teams hit the gym early in preparation for the upcoming contests.
For the Lady Aggies, early is quite literal. The women’s basketball team holds practice nearly every morning from 5:30-7:30 a.m., and they often return to the gym in the afternoon. According to Head Women’s Coach Tom Webb, the main focus of the preseason practices is to get the team back onto the court and help the new players adjust to the team.
“We’re going to be on the road a lot in November, so we’re getting up early, competing hard and just trying to get into shape and get to know each other,” Webb said. “We have ten returners, and we have a lot of new pieces that haven’t stepped on the floor a ton, so we just have to figure one another out.”
Among the ten returners are senior guards Jazzmine Robinson and Jade Herl. As a junior last year, Robinson played in 15 games with 17 steals, 3 blocks and 22 assists, averaging 12.4 points. Herl also saw playing time in 15 games with 7 steals and 11 assists, averaging 9 points. Noelle Kindred and Sasha Carter round out the senior group for the 2014-15 season.
So far, Coach Webb said the returners are standing out because they know the system and know what is expected, but a few newcomers are making some noise in the preseason.
“Kennedi Simien brings it every day,” Webb said. “She works extremely hard. Her and Brandi Gomez are both freshmen, and they are both just learning everything every single day, trying to figure out what I want and how I want to do things.
“Kids like Brandi Leal and Cristina Soriano are hopefully kids who will make an impact right away. At the end of the day, it’s going to be a team effort. If we have a great season, it’s because of the team, and if we don’t have a great season, it’s because of the depths of the teams.”
According to the 2014-15 Lone Star Conference’s (LSC) preseason women’s basketball poll released on Oct. 29, the Lady Aggies are selected to finish sixth in the conference behind first pick and defending conference champs, West Texas A&M, and number two slot, Midwestern State.
CU Sports Information notes that the league’s preseason polls reflect the opinions of LSC head coaches and sports information directors, as well as various media representatives from the the region and are largely based on how the teams finished the previous season.
Cameron finished the 2013-14 season with a 13-14 overall record and went 5-11 in the LSC to qualify for the league’s postseason tournament.
According to Webb, the preseason poll matters little to his team because the present carries more weight and potential.
“To be honest with you,” Webb said, “preseason is preseason. Last year we were 8-2 going into the league, and we struggled early. We just have to worry about now. If people told you where you were going to be ten years from now and you listened to them all the time, you probably wouldn’t be very successful – so you can’t worry about what other people say; you have to worry about what you can do and what you can control.”
Beginning Nov. 14, the CU Women will hit the road for a month-long series of road games before returning on Dec. 6 to Aggie Gym for their lone 2014 home contest against Southwestern Oklahoma.
Webb said this season’s schedule is hard, but returning to the home crowd will be a welcome sight next month.
“The thing that’s really hard is if you get down early or you’re struggling a little bit,” Webb said. “It’s nice to have those fans cheering you on. We just need the best student support we can get this year. We’re excited about that when we do get home Dec. 6, we are going to play extremely hard.
“We’re going to be fun to watch because we are going to play hard, and they are going to give everything they have. They’ll compete every procession,” he said. “When you leave the gym, you will be proud of their effort, and I think that’s a huge deal.”
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