JOPLIN, Mo. — The MSSU women’s basketball team had their first day of practice on Thursday.
This season, they’re looking to ascend towards the top half of the conference.
“I can’t express the excitement you know after what we’ve gone through over the last six, seven months with quarantine and with COVID, the seriousness of that and everything that has gone on,” said head coach Ronnie Ressel. “Being in lockdown for a while, this is like Christmas for us.”
The Lady Lions went 10-18 last season and finished 9th in the MIAA.
“I think we’ve got a lot of new faces on our team,” said junior forward Layne Skiles. “So, our goal is just to be able to play together as a team really well this season and win a lot more ball games.”
Ressel said there were several things this year’s team needs to improve on in order to contend with some of the conference’s best, the main one being defense.
“At times, we played some really good basketball last year,” said Ressel. “We had some young kids that I thought really developed and improved. The thing that I thought we’ve got to improve biggest on is the defensive side, especially our transition defense. Last year, we really struggled to defend people in transition. We were giving up too many points per possession.”
Ressel said they also need to improve on offense, especially in transition.
“We were not very good in our transition offense as far as scoring the basketball. So, those are two areas that we’re gonna try and improve on. Our half court regular defense was pretty good. It can get better. Our half court offense, it was good, but it needs to be better if we want to get to the top half of our league.”
Skiles believes the keys to success this season are playing together and playing with confidence.
“I think our team really needs to work on our confidence because we are a younger team but I believe in everybody equally,” Skiles said. “So, I think if everyone plays with confidence, we’ll be just fine.”
Ressel said he’s optimistic about what this year’s group can accomplish.
“To be able to get this and to kind of carry off what we did last year with the new kids that we got in, I’m excited.”
The Lady Lions will start their season off on Nov. 19 at 5:30 p.m. at the University of Central Oklahoma. To view their full 2020-21 schedule, click HERE.