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Basketball preview

nov10pg1Basketballs dribble up and down the court as guard Kenesha Saygo began one of her last team practices before the first game of the basketball season.

The first game of the basketball season will be Nov. 11 at 6 p.m. against Texas A&M International Dustdevils. The TWU basketball team says they anticipate a strong start to the season because of their experienced players.

Head Coach Elizabeth Jillson said: “The experience of having 11 players returning, as a coach, that’s nice. We have three new players that are just really coming along and buying into our system. They understand what we want and so it’s going to be fun to see us grow throughout the year and we’ve got a long way to go but we’re just working every day and getting better.”

Seniors from the basketball team also expect this season to begin and end successfully.

Saygo: “I think every season has the potential to be better than the last. We have the ability to grow and to do better than we’ve done previously. This year we just really have to focus on us and how to be consistent in our game.”

Because of last season’s success, the Lone Star Conference has predicted TWU will finish in third place this season, something Coach Jillson will not spend too much time pondering.

Jillson explained: “We have our own expectation for this year of where we want to go and what we want to do. With 11 returners and five seniors we just want to make this the very best year we can, especially for our seniors.”

This season, TWU will have the opportunity to win the LSC Women’s Academic Excellence Award for a fourth consecutive year. For the past three years, TWU’s basketball players have had a cumulative GPA higher than any other LSC female basketball team and have been recognized for that accomplishment.

Jillson said: “We take a lot of pride in our academics and I’m just so proud of our players for having the highest GPA in the Lone Star Conference the last three years. I think that says a lot about who they are and their character and their work ethic on and off the court.”

Coach Jillson also explained TWU’s strategy to do well in this season.

Jillson said: “We’re known for our defensive aggressiveness, for rebounding and for getting to the free throw line and those are three things we’ve got to do if we want to be good, especially if we want to reach our goals. Something we have added is our three point shooting ability. I think that we’re going to be better at shooting the ball this year, which is something that needed to improve.”

Senior guard Andrea Mapua also has her own goals and strategies for seeing her team succeed and enjoying her last season on the team.

Mapua said: “My goals this year are to really support my teammates on and off the court and to make two three-pointers a game. I’m just kind of living in the moment because every game is my last game. I’m trying to push myself to be the best I can be because this is the last time I’ll be playing basketball on a team and I’ve been playing since I was five.”

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