By Ellie Ratliff, Sports Editor
The Hardin-Simmons University women’s basketball team has started off their season strong. The Cowgirls have put in a great deal of work during the off-season and are ready to prove themselves on the court. Junior Karlea Ritchie talked about the team’s new dynamic, as there are many new players.
“This year’s team is fun. We have a large roster with about 11 newcomers. Bringing in so many new bodies was an adjustment, but one that we made very quickly. We have a lot of talented girls on this team, and some very skilled freshman,” Ritchie said.
The team has come together well, thanks to strong leadership of the upperclassmen. “Upperclassmen have done a great job of teaching the young ones our system of play. They have really bought into our culture. It’s very exciting and the team chemistry is excellent thus far. Everyone is accepting their roles and fulfilling them to the best of their abilities,” Ritchie said.
The team was focused on improving their play during the offseason. Ritchie specified what the team has been working on. “During this offseason, we have really been focusing on defense. Defense is what we want our team to be known for. So, we have been drilling intense ball pressure, help side, better closeouts and have acquired some new presses. Having multiple defenses that we are good at allows us to constantly switch things up on teams and prevent them from ever getting comfortable, which then affects their offensive performance,” Ritchie said.
The team has high expectations for the upcoming season and have had a strong start, winning their first three games. “My expectations for the season are simple – for us to become better each day. We should constantly be improving, and we want to be playing our best basketball by the time conference rolls around. Our end goal is to win the conference tournament and make the national tournament,” Ritchie said.
The Cowgirls have their next home game on Nov. 30 versus Centenary at 1 p.m.