Editor’s Note: Cover Image provided by cruathletics.com
It has been far too long of a wait for the UMHB women’s basketball team. After ending the 2019-20 season by having its NCAA Tournament Round of 16 game cancelled, the Cru are back on the floor, set to kick off a new season with the same national championship expectations.
This week, the season finally kicks off with two games for the Cru. Read all about those upcoming matchups, hear from head coach Mark Morefield, and even see who we slotted as the projected five starters to start the season in our first edition of the women’s basketball “coach’s clipboard”. It will be a weekly article previewing the upcoming week for the Cru. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter for live game updates and more.
Thoughts from head coach Mark Morefield:
Morefield on the late start to the season and what he and his staff have been preaching: “We’ve stayed sharp, haven’t really had, from a mental standpoint, lackadaisical practices. They’ve stayed engaged. The thing that we keep telling them is that they have to be ready at any moment. This is going to be the season of adversity to a degree because we might found out the morning of a game that we’re not playing. It’s something we talked about two weeks ago, the fact that the team who wins a championship this year is not going to be the most talented team. It’s going to be the team that handles the adversity of the season the best. That’s what it’s going to come down to.”
Morefield on what he hopes his team takes away from these first two games: “Our approach is the same approach we’ve used for the past five years. We have 25 opportunities every year. There’s two outcomes. You’re either going to be on the right side of the margin or the left side of the margin. And we want to compete at a level to where we’re at the left side of the margin more than we’re at the right side of the margin. We approach every game as if we’re going in there and each game is going to prepare us for a national championship, prepare us to win the conference tournament. We want to make sure we compete at the highest level that we’re capable of playing at.”
- Look for Carrington Jones and Olivia Champion to make key contributions off the bench. According to Morefield both have “done 180s” from where they were last season, and will see the floor much more this year. Champion has tremendous quickness and Jones is “a very good shooter” and should help the team on the perimeter.
- This will be the Cru’s first game of the season, as their season opener at Texas Wesleyan was cancelled on November 17.
- Morefield said “this is the most depth we’ve had in years”. He spoke of the fact that they’ve always tried to build depth, and that his program has a similar mentality to Butler in men’s basketball, with a focus on continuity.
- Point guard Madison McCoy is questionable for this week’s games, according to a press release from the UMHB athletics department. Her status is unknown but it did say that McCoy “may miss some time early in the season”. Because of this, she has been taken out of our projected starting lineup.
Projected Starting Lineup
PG- A’Lexiss Benton, Junior- 3.8 PPG, 1.1 APG, 1.2 RPG (Last Season)
G- Brooke Elliot, Senior- 3.4 PPG, 1.3 APG, 2.1 RPG (Last Season)
G- Bethany McLeod, Junior- 3.2 PPG, 0.8 APG, 2.1 RPG (Last Season)
P- Taylor Kollmorgen, Graduate Student- 4.8 PPG, 0.1 APG, 3.7 RPG (Played at Houston Baptist)
C- Allaira Jones, Junior- 11.0 PPG, 1.0 APG, 7.5 RPG (Last season)
About the opponent: University of North Texas-Dallas
Date: December 1
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Place: Dallas, Texas (Oak Cliff Bible Church)
No livestream to be provided
- This is the first season in which UNT Dallas is fielding a varsity athletics program. They will compete at the NAIA level. The Trailblazers have had a rough start to the season, winning just one of their scheduled six games, with two of those games having been cancelled.
- The Trailblazers are head coached by Rodney Belcher, a longtime high school head coach and collegiate assistant who began his college basketball career near Belton at McLennan Community College in Waco, Texas.
- Interestingly, UNT Dallas is the only public, four-year university in the City of Dallas, and with that said, the Trailblazers are the only non-JUCO school in a city of about 1.3 million.
About the opponent: Arlington Baptist
Date: December 4
Time: 5:00 p.m.
Place: Belton, Texas (Mayborn Campus Center)
- So far, the Patriots are 3-1 on the season, with their most recent road contest against Bacone College having been cancelled due to COVID. The one loss came to one of UMHB’s ASC rivals, Hardin Simmons.
- Under the leadership of the husband/wife coaching duo of Clifton McDaniel and Kristi McDaniel, the program has been amongst the best in the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA). Since its inaugural year in 2011, the Patriots captured four straight NCCAA national championships from 2016-2019. Last season’s tournament was not held due to COVID, although the team did win the Southwest Regional.
- Friday’s contest is scheduled to be the first ever meeting between the Patriots and the Cru.