By Andrew Preston
The Lady Trojans begin the 2016–17 season on Nov. 5 with a new head coach and several young players.
Chad Hibdon, the new women’s basketball head coach, said he will emphasize the toughness of the team that lost three seniors and the program’s winningest coach in history.
“With a new coaching staff and a new philosophy, I think that where we are right now, we are a very youthful team, not matured into what we can be. We are still in the learning curve stage,” said Hibdon.
Of the 15 players on the roster, there are 10 underclassmen, including five freshman.
A group of returning seniors will help lead the way.
The Lady Trojans are led this year by four seniors— Brianna McDonald, forward; Morgan Long, guard; Sarah Raby, forward; and Megan Kilburn, forward—all of whom have played significant minutes and roles the past couple of seasons.
“All four of our seniors are providing leadership in their own element. More so than leaders, we have positive influencers. They are influencing and leading our team,” said Hibdon.
Last season the Lady Trojans posted a 9-17 (7-7) record, losing to Ursuline College in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC) semi-finals. For the first three seasons in G-MAC competition, the Lady Trojans boasted a 35-5 record.
“For us to get back to being one of the premiere teams in the G-MAC it’s about our preparation level, it’s about what we’re doing in pre-season conditioning and practices. We try to create a culture of being championship built. You build that foundation in the pre-season,” said Hibdon. “You have to have physical, mental, and emotional toughness to succeed.”
The goal for the Lady Trojans season, as is for every season is to win, but in a rather unconventional way, according to Coach Hibdon.
“It’s more about how we do things than the end result. Our four pillars are give, grow, love and win. Winning is important, but if we have the first three pillars, then we will be successful,” said Hibdon.
All four seniors on the team have experienced their share of successes and failures.
“I expect a championship. I expect us to be better and more focused than last year and give relentless effort and be a team who goes to war ever game and gives it their all,” said Kilburn.
December action will kick off with a matchup against a local team across town.
The Lady Trojans and Belmont University have agreed to play an exhibition game this season.
“Anytime you can play Division I teams or teams that are successful it’s a measuring stick and competitive challenge to show you where your teams are at,” said Hibdon.
The Lady Trojans will play the Lady Bruins on Dec. 2.
The Lady Trojans begin their season on Homecoming with a scrimmage against Midway University on Nov. 5.
Nov. 5 2 p.m. vs. Midway University
Nov. 11 7 p.m. vs. University of Missouri-St. Louis
Nov. 12 6 p.m. vs. Drury University
Nov. 17 6 p.m. vs. Lane College
Nov. 19 2 p.m. @ Austin Peay
Nov. 22 6 p.m. vs. McKendree University
Nov. 26 2 p.m. @ North Alabama
Nov. 29 5 p.m. @ Alabama-Huntsville
Dec. 1 6 p.m. vs. Fisk University
Dec. 2 11 a.m. @ Belmont University
Dec. 12 3 p.m. vs. Alabama-Huntsville
Dec. 18 3 p.m. @ Central State University
Dec. 19 3 p.m. @ Illinois at Springfield
Jan. 2 7:00 p.m. @ Oakland City University
Jan. 5 5 p.m. @ Cedarville University
Jan. 7 1 p.m. @ Ohio Valley Univ.
Jan. 12 6 p.m. vs. Malone University
Jan. 14 2 p.m. vs. Ursuline College
Jan. 19 6 p.m. vs. Alderson Broaddus Univ.
Jan. 21 2 p.m. vs. Davis & Elkins College
Jan. 24 6 p.m. vs. Kentucky State University
Jan. 28 1 p.m. @ Kentucky Wesleyan College
Feb. 2 4:30 p.m. @ Ursuline College
Feb. 4 12 p.m. @ Malone University
Feb. 9 4:30 p.m. @ Davis & Elkins College
Feb. 11 1 p.m. @ Alderson Broaddus Univ.
Feb. 16 6 p.m. vs. Ohio Valley Univ.
Feb. 18 2 p.m. vs. Cedarville University
Feb. 25 2 p.m. vs. Kentucky Wesleyan College
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