Head women’s basketball coach Jeff Mittie said this year’s team is focused on repetition and consistency.
The team prepared for the upcoming season by working on defensive concepts during summer practices, Mittie said.
“Every year is new, and I think the group that played last year is motivated to have a better season,” Mittie said. “We really don’t talk about last year. For us it’s about getting better – and the group got better last year, and we want the end of the season to carry on to this season.”
Last year the Frogs finished 2-16 in their first season of Big 12 conference play and 9-21 overall.
“We can improve on our defense and rebounding,” junior guard Natalie Ventress said. “It can be better. We have to talk more and we’re still learning where to be and where to go. Coach Mittie has given us the opportunity to be more open and run plays on our own.”
Ventress and sophomore guard Zahna Medley, a preseason All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selection, are expected to be team leaders this season. Among freshmen, Medley ranked third nationally in assists last season with an average of 4.3 assists per game.
Texas A&M transfer Alexia Standish will also add depth at the guard position. Standish earned Big 12 All-Freshman Team honors in 2012 and led the conference in 3-point field goal percentage at 42.7 percent.
The Frogs added size to the roster this season with two freshmen centers, 6-foot-6-inch Klara Bradshaw and 6-foot-2-inch Carol Willie.
Bradshaw scored 19.4 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked 8.6 shots per game at Rains High School in Emory, Texas. Willie put up 9.5 points and recorded 7.6 rebounds per game at Houston’s Cypress Falls High School.
“Rebounding is an area that we put a big emphasis on,” Mittie said. “I think we’re better and we’re more of a physical team.”
In addition to Bradshaw and Willie, the Frogs signed freshmen guards Jada Butts and A.J. Alix.
“This is so different from high school,” Mittie said. “If you can come in everyday and be a little better than the day before, then they are going to look up and see a lot of progress by the end of the year.”
Ventress said the team has strong on-court chemistry.
“I expect our team to make it to the tournament, and personally my goal is to be one of the [all-conference] teams,” Ventress said.
Mittie said he looks forward to seeing how the team grows from day one to the last day of the season.
“We’ll be a better basketball team,” Mittie said. “I believe that our team knows that we’ve put in the work. While we have a long ways to go, everyone has a long way to go this time of year. We have made some improvements, and we’re ready to get the season started.”