Lady Trojans gearing up

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Trojans women’s basketball team tips off the regular season Friday afternoon against West Alabama.

Last year, the Lady Trojans finished with an overall record of 20-11, which was a big improvement from the year prior when they finished the season 12-18.

After finishing the season a year ago in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational, head coach Chandra Rigby and the Trojans are gearing up to take the next step.

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“We have definitely begun with the end at mind,” Rigby said. “From day one that is something we have talked about. We want to be successful in post-season play. We talked about what that looks like.”

Rigby has pushed a different style in practice, one that brings more energy and excitement. “There is a different intensity with what we are doing,” Rigby said. “We have more attention to detail because of what we want to have happen at the end of the season.”

The players are ready to show that last year was no fluke.

“In our first meeting she (Rigby) told us we are going to go 29-0 and we are going to win it,” said Trojan senior Ashley Beverly Kelley. “So we are ready to practice and play hard so we can get to that point and win.”

Kelley will be looked upon as a leader once again in 2015. A year ago Kelley finished the season playing in 31 games and averaged 17.6 points per game with a total of 86 assists.

The Trojans enter this season with a few transfers from the junior college ranks who could make an early impact.

“There are so many,” Rigby said. “The thing about it is we are going to substitute like a hockey team. There is not single player on this team that we don’t have confidence in. Claresa Banks came in and she is two weeks out from recovering from an ACL injury. She went out and scored a very easy 15 points (against Stillman in exhibition game).”

Other players to watch this season will be Casie Johnson and Lauren Day.

The Trojans hope to capitalize on their ability to constantly sub in and out five plays without having much of a drop off.

“As a coach you have to be careful not to waste that,” Rigby said. “They have to get used to it. We are not there yet by any means. They have to get used to the fact that your only going to be in there 2:00 at most 2:30 no matter how awesome your playing. I want you to expel all of your energy during that time.”

One thing the Trojans and every other team will have to adjust to this season is the implementation of the new clock rules. This season all women’s college basketball games will now feature four 10-minute quarters instead of two 20-minute halves. Another rule the Trojan have been working extra hard for is the one touch foul rule outside of the perimeter.

“The referees at our scrimmage really complemented us,” Rigby said. “They really didn’t expect us to do as well as we did. We had very few penalties called.”

The Trojans will have a tough non-conference schedule in 2015. A schedule that features games against Samford, Vanderbilt, Alabama State and UAB all on the road.

Non-conference home games for the Trojans will include West Alabama, Fort Valley State and Nicholls.

The Trojans will play their first regular season game against West Alabama at noon Friday in Trojan Arena.