The Texas State women’s basketball team is looking to improve on the strides the program made last season following the hiring of new head coach.
The women made their first Southland Conference Tournament since 2008 last season, winning the team’s first SLC tournament game since 2003. The Bobcats increased their win total from nine to 17 last year, which marked the second-biggest turnaround in school history.
Texas State plans to improve from last season and make a name for themselves with the transition into the Western Athletic Conference. With the Bobcats’ season just tipping off Friday, the team expressed excitement to see how things play out.
“I have a great staff as far as preparation goes,” Antoine said. “I’m excited for our newcomers to come out and have an opportunity to go and play this season. We have a lot more excitement then jitters right now.”
Senior guard Diamond Ford is looking to pick up where she left off last year, when she finished as the 30th leading scorer in the NCAA. Last season Ford was the leading scorer for the team, averaging 18.5 points per game, and was recently named to the WAC All-Conference first team.
Ford became the 13th player in school history to score 1,000 points last season.
Last season, the Bobcats finished with a winning record of 17-14, and went 8-8 in the Southland. The team hopes to continue with its winning ways and improve conference record overall.
“My thought process is to take it game by game,” Antoine said. “I want to see how the team comes together as we head into conference play.”
The Bobcats begin their season this Friday at home against the Belmont Bruins. Last season, the Bobcats beat the Bruins 71-66 in a close game.
“I feel confident,” said junior forward Ashley Ezeh. “We beat Belmont last year. I feel we currently have that same intensity coming into this game. We have the home crowd behind us and hope for them to get rowdy and loud. Our goal is to get this win and use that to boost us for upcoming games.”
The team has won its past three season opening home games and Ford said she believes winning is all going to be about talking to each other on the court.
“Team wise, we’ve been working on communication,” Ford said. “We played this team last year and understand that communication is something that’s going to be key for us heading into Friday.”
With all-district players Ford and Ezeh returning, Antoine hopes to keep their conference tournament streak alive.
“My expectation for us is to play hard Friday,” Antoine said. “We have the home crowd behind us and that can only help any team out there on the court.”
Friday’s game is going to be just one of the many tests the Bobcats will face this season heading into a new conference.
“I feel like the season is going to be really exciting this season,” Ford said. “We have some big schools that we’re going to play and as a team it’s going to really help us to see where we’re at.”
The WAC features five teams that had winning records this year: The University of Denver, Louisiana Tech University, Seattle University, Utah State University and Texas State. The Aggies of Utah State were predicted to win the conference by the WAC’s Media and Coaches Poll with Louisiana Tech and Denver coming in second and third, respectively. Utah State’s senior guard Devyn Christensen was selected as the WAC’s Preseason Player of the Year.
“I feel every team is going to be a threat,” Ezeh said. “We’re heading into a new conference and with being in a conference comes new challenges. It’s going to be a new time for us.”
Texas State is currently seated as the sixth highest ranked team in the WAC pre-season polls, five points shy of fifth place Idaho. However, any team can have the edge in an unpredictable conference.
“I cannot predict how the conference will play but believe that as long as we play the Bobcat way, things can only continue on from there,” Antoine said.