Following last year’s 17-15 season, the Texas State women’s basketball team is looking to make the next leap in the conference.
In preparation for the season, Coach Zenarae Antoine discussed Erin Peoples’ season-ending injury, the team’s defensive mindset and the additions to her coaching staff.
Opening statement: “Well I want to welcome everyone I’m really excited to be here on this beautiful Texas day, it isn’t too hot for us but ill tell you what we’ve been heating it up on the basketball court for sure. One of the things that we’ve been doing we’ve been focusing on quite a bit, more so than we have in the past and I think the players will be able to tell you this, is defense. This summer we had quite a bit of things going on we had some changes on my staff, I welcome those changes from the standpoint that we brought some phenomenal people back in.”
On additions to the coaching staff: “We brought back Chandra Dorsey who was at Wichita State, they were top 3 in defense. She’s been able to come back, kind of rejuvenate as my associate head coach. We’re implementing some of those thoughts and ideas that Jody Adams ran there, I’ve been excited about that. So I’m really excited about those changes, I think those changes have brought a new kind of energy to our program which I think is needed.”
On new players: “We signed quite a few kids who score, we brought in six new faces – four freshman and we brought in two transfers – a junior college transfer and a transfer from Arkansas by the name of McKinley Bostad. McKinley will be a redshirt sophomore for us next year she’ll be eligible to play.”
On Erin Peoples’ injury: “With all that being said after the initial shock we weren’t quite sure exactly what was going on with her knee injury, we gave it some time and after reevaluating it she went to the doctor and found that it was ACL. We’re kind of able to move from there. She had her surgery last week, everything went well so we’re really excited for Erin. I can tell you Erin is extremely upbeat and so is the team, but as we move forward we have a lot of pieces still in place that are still going to be able to help us compete for a championship. So as scary as it is to lose a kid like Erin Peoples, a kid who’s a potential all-conference player maybe even really be player of the year with a kid like Gamble over there at Arkansas State.”
On the players’ size: “We’ve signed kids that are going to be able to put the ball in the hole. What you’ll notice on the surface when you take a look at our team is we’re smaller. You’re gonna ask yourself “well where is the rebounding going to come from?” We’re asking ourself that question right now. That’d be the one area where we need some work.”
On benefits on having a smaller team: “We’re allowed to play a lot faster, that’s on offense and defense. I really enjoy that piece of it. On the surface right now you take a look at us, yes we’re smaller but that doesn’t mean that our hearts aren’t in it, it doesn’t mean that our kids aren’t going to work harder.”
On playing non-conference teams: “We also have the toughest schedule to this point of my time here at Texas State. We open obviously with Texas A&M and this was done by design, you know I figured by the time I’m here going into my fifth year, we’d have a senior class.”
On the teams’ versatility: “It is the most versatile team we’ve ever had. We have kids that can play multiple positions, we have one in this room right now – Kaitlin Walla, she’s a kid who can play a 2, 3, or a 4. We have a couple kids like that as well. Ericka May obviously can float between the 3 and the 4, Ericka May is probably going to be playing more the 4 spot for this year but she has guard type skills. Whitney Apari is a growing kid for us, she was a freshman last year, she can also face up. A lot of our fours are kids who can face up and put the ball on the floor as well as defend guards.”
On the challenge of being defensively focused: “I think the challenge is that they always have an understanding if I make the shot, everything in the world is okay. I think the challenge you find is understanding that defense takes a lot more leg work than it does necessarily brain work but it takes a lot of leg work and that’s your ability to be able to move quickly and to understand gaps and seams. They’ve bought in and if you take a look at a lot of our games we were able to get big stops, I mean we probably would’ve been fine. Them understanding that has really helped the process.”