“Confident, always confident. We’re Griffons,” Rob Edmisson, the head coach of the women’s basketball team said as he expressed his confidence in his new team.
Missouri Western’s women’s basketball have signed nine new players and they are looking to continue the success from last season. They finished last season with a 21-8 overall and 13-6 in MIAA conference play.
Western is coming off a back-to-back 20-win seasons. One of those being the 2015-2016 season where Western won the MIAA regular season championship.
Edmisson has been the head coach of the Women’s basketball team for five seasons and has led Western to an 89-52 record during that time. The rest of the coaching staff includes Roger Smith (Associate Head Coach), Chelsea Dewey (Graduate Assistant), and Sarafina Handy (Graduate Assistant).
Western is starting this 2017-2018 season ranked as number six in the MIAA Preseason Women’s Basketball Coaches Poll. Edmisson speaks highly of his newly acquired team.
“Well obviously it slows down our learning curve, because we have to do a lot of teaching and reteaching, but fortunately they are talented kids and very coach-able kids, and I think it will take awhile for our team to get there,” Edmisson said.
Although it will take some time, Edmisson believes that he has the best players for the process.
Western has three letter winners returning from last year including top scorers Erin Anderson with 6.5 points per game, Savannah Lentz with 6.1 points per game and Melia Richardson averaging 5.8 points per game. The Griffons averaged as team 69.7 points a game, 33.4 rebounds a game, 14.4 assists per game, 10.5 steals per game and 2.6 blocks per game.
Anderson speaks about her excitement of the upcoming season.
“I’m very confident. We have a very athletic team, so I am looking forward to transitioning up and down the court,” Anderson said.
Anderson also talks about how the team has to really put their trust in the coach the entire process.
“Coach will get us where he wants to be, and he even has us very confident,” Anderson said.
Anderson also talks about her new teammates, and how important it will be for the chemistry to work.
“The struggle would be the chemistry, but as we constantly work with the coach day in and day out,” Anderson said. “The chemistry will come easy as we continue. Not all of us are new to this. Some of us are juniors and that should make it easy for us.”
Some of the new players are coming from Division I schools which can be an advantage for the Griffons. Brittany Atkins is transferring from Oklahoma State University, and she is listed at 5’10 and a wing player with Big 12 conference experience. So far Atkins seems to be enjoying being apart of the Western.
“I like it, this is the best team chemistry I’ve ever had off the court and on the court,” Atkins said. “We all like each other, and it just feels like a family here.”
Atkins talks about the chemistry that the team is building throughout this process.
“I think we try to find each others strengths and weaknesses and throughout practice,” Atkins said. “A lot of us are older, been there done that, but there are some younger ones that we may have to teach things that we may already know.”
There is a lot of diversity in the new players, and some of which are from overseas. The signing class features eight transfers. Edmisson signed student-athletes from five different states and four different countries.
Other new players include, Cera Ledbetter (Sioux Falls, South Dakota), Jessica Davies (Watford, England), Dossou Ndiaye (Senegal), Katrina Roenfeldt (Dodge City, Kansas), Simone Walker (Darby, Pennsylvania), Zarya Poulava (Hamilton, New Zealand), KeShara Scott (Riverside, California), and Manaia Timson (Hamilton, New Zealand).
There is always some kind of obstacle with every new team. As for the Griffons, it will be the health of the players this season. Edmisson shows a little concern for his team.
“. . . Our health and injuries, and we already lost a kid for the season due to an ACL injury, we have some kids banged up,” Edmisson said, “For us it’s about staying healthy.”
Despite the misfortune upon the team already, Edmisson feels that as long as his team can stay healthy then they can be a contender.
Confidence is up as Western tips-off its season at Southwest Minnesota State University this Friday, Nov. 10.
“We are very confident, actually our coach has us very confident. The only thing that can defeat us is us,” Anderson said, “So we aren’t going to go in there too cocky or anything like that, and we are going to get the job done.”