The 2015-16 University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point women’s basketball season is on the horizon.
After an offseason filled with excitement, the UWSP women opened the season with a 92-45 win over Finlandia.
Before Saturday’s game, head coach Shirley Egner, senior post Joann Wolfenberg and sophomore Kayla Price shared their sentiments in regards to the upcoming season.
When asked about procedures for offseason preparation, Egner explained that the team always enters its seasons with a central focus on achieving two lofty and unchanging goals.
“We always want to win a conference title and get a postseason bid, regardless of how many kids are on our roster or how many we have returning,” Egner said. “We want to make it to the NCAA tournament every year.”
Aiming high is nothing new for this team, as Wolfenberg, a team captain, reiterated. She echoed many of the same sentiments as her coach, while simultaneously offering additional insights into the team’s goals.
“We always have the goal to be conference champions and make it to the NCAA tournament,” Wolfenberg said. “One team goal we have is to average seventy-five points-per-game. Also, we want to make sure that we finish the season with no regrets.”
The excitement surrounding this team extends beyond the players and coaching staff to the student body.
“I’m just excited for the season to begin,” Price said. “I attended most of the home games last year, as well as a few of the away games. I’ve always been a big supporter of UWSP athletics and especially of women’s basketball.”
The players feel that they will reap the rewards of their offseason workouts, as they expect it will translate to production once they take the floor on Saturday.
“Our players have put a lot of time in over the summer. They’ve worked hard with building team relationships,” Egner said. “They’ve worked to make the mental adjustments. They know that every possession matters.”
Wolfenberg reiterated the importance of offseason workouts.
“Working hard in the offseason, preparing our minds so that we are mentally tougher,” Wolfenberg said. “Building confidence so that we are more trusting of one another.”
Although the team retains its optimism, they are not without concerns heading into the upcoming season. According to Egner, the team has some issues that it will need to address and correct if it wishes to achieve its goals, especially the importance of pace and offensive efficiency.
“We’re young. We have to be able to limit the number of turnovers,” Egner said. “We want to have a better offensive points per game. We’ve been in the low-60s and want to get in the mid-70s.”
Additionally, Wolfenberg expressed some lingering concerns about the team, focusing more on the mental aspects of the game.
“I think our team needs to be better at staying focused and making sure we stay confident and making sure we pick each other up if we have problems,” Wolfenberg said.
Even with its drawbacks, Egner feels the team matches up well with other teams defensively, while also identifying other potential advantages that she feels the team might possess.
“We have good size. This could be a positive or a negative. Traditionally, our program is about defense,” Egner said. “I think we have some advantages personnel-wise.”
In contrast, Wolfenberg’s response focused on the synergy of the team.
“Our team comradery is pretty good this year. I think a lot of us have experience, so we know what to expect this season,” Wolfenberg said.