JOPLIN, Mo. — College basketball is in the air and the Missouri Southern women’s basketball team jump-starts their 2023-2024 this weekend up in Emporia, Kansas.

The Lions make the trip to Emporia on Friday where they will compete in the MIAA and GAC Crossover challenge. They will face Harding University on Friday and then Henderson State University on Saturday at White Auditorium.

Southern is coming off an exhibition game last Wednesday against Wichita State and put up a tough fight only losing by 10 points. This will be a good first test for a squad that has lost a lot of production, but they have a handful of new faces to go along with a new identity.

This week in practice for Southern their focus is centered towards themselves as a team.

Senior Guard Kryslyn Jones said, “Our main focus is going to be ourselves. Like we went to Wichita State, we played pretty good and I think we just got to keep capitalizing on our defense, our offense, trusting each other, things like that.”

Redshirt Freshman Center Ryan Franklin said, “Mainly just focusing on ourselves. Everything we’ve been working on, nothing’s changing. Like obviously we’re going to go up against some good teams, but as long as we just stay good with the fundamentals and what we’ve been working on, I think we’ll be fine.”

Head Coach Ronnie Ressel said, “Well, the big thing is we got to continue to focus on ourselves and, you know, two areas after Wichita State and a couple of our scrimmages, offensive rebounding and turnovers have been a concern. So we’ve been focusing on those aspects, especially on offense. Make sure we take care of the ball and get a good shot every time. And then defensively, just our effort, we continue to work on that. We’ve got to get better defensively, and make sure we finish plays our initial defense has been pretty good in practice and our scrimmages. It’s just giving them second or third opportunities.