The Sam Houston State women’s basketball season will officially tipoff this Saturday in Fayetteville, AR against the Arkansas Razorbacks.
The Bearkats will look to build on last year’s Cinderella run to the conference championship, where they came in as the tournament’s eight seed, reached the conference title game, but fell just short to the University of Central Arkansas 69-62.
“We are really excited, we are trying to teach these younger ones what it felt like to make that Cinderella run,” head coach Brenda Welch-Nichols said. “We got ranked ninth in the preseason polls, so we like being the underdog. It gives us a little bit more incentive to get where we are supposed to be.”
SHSU will be putting a young team out on the court this season, the team features 10 freshmen and sophomores. Welch-Nichols speaks very highly of this group, but she knows that this season will bring a lot of ups and downs, since the team is inexperienced.
“I think we are going to have some ups and downs like a rollercoaster,” Welch-Nichols said. “I think we have a lot of good kids that can contribute, so we just have to put it together.”
The Bearkats lost four key players over the offseason, but that does not mean they lack talent. The Kats have a lot of players that will be key contributors this season. Junior guard Angela Delaney figures to be one of the team’s more impactful players with her ability to shoot the ball and play multiple positions.
Freshman guard Jennifer Oramas is also expected to step up and become a leader.
“We have some exciting young kids, Oramas is number one, be looking for that number,” Welch-Nichols said. “She is a firecracker, very good with the ball, and moves it up and down the court.”
Freshman Tia Harston and seniors Jasmine McCants and Morgan Day are also players that Welch-Nichols is very excited about going into the season.
“Tia is going to be putting up the shots and hitting some threes for us,” Welch-Nichols said. “We have Jasmine McCants who’s a senior, a post player who is really good on the boards, and we have Morgan Day a senior guard who is going to be able dish the ball around.”
The Bearkats are a young team, but that doesn’t temper with their expectations. The coaches expect the team to be right back in the conference championship game, where they were last season, but this time they expect to walk away victorious.
“Expectations are battling to be the conference champions, get to Katy,” Welch-Nichols said. “Our motto is anchor down, Katy bound.”
The Bearkats will open their season on the road on Friday against the Arkansas. The game is set to begin at 10:30 a.m. and will be viewable on SEC Network Plus.