Tourney time: Trojans prepare for Sun Belt Conference Tournament

Published 9:31 pm Monday, March 11, 2019

The Troy Trojans wrapped up their 2018-2019 season in third place in the Sun Belt Conference and now turn their sites toward the conference tournament this week in New Orleans.

The Trojans finished with the second-most wins (22) in program history and the most under head coach Chanda Rigby.

The Trojans, with the third-place finish, earned themselves a double bye and will play in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” Rigby said. “We are preparing to go to New Orleans. We are thankful to be in the position that we are in. We need to win three games in three days to win and get to the NCAA Tournament.”

The Trojans finished the season with a two-game home sweep of Appalachian State and Coastal Carolina on Thursday and Saturday of last week.

The tournament officially began on Monday evening with Coastal Carolina taking on Arkansas State and South Alabama taking on Louisiana. The Trojans will await to play the winner of game four, which matches up sixth seeded Texas State and the winner of the game between the Ragin’ Cajuns and South Alabama.

“We are focusing on us,” Rigby said. “We want to continue the theme of cutting down our mistakes like taking care of the ball and limiting turnovers. Make sure we are rebounding better in all of our defenses.”

The Trojans returned some healthy bodies to the lineup before their final home stand last Thursday. Now with just a few days remaining until the start of post season, the Trojans are eager to remain healthy.

“We feel blessed that we have a pretty healthy team,” Rigby said. “We are feeling good. We just had a day and half of rest, getting their legs back underneath them. We are ready to go.”

The Trojans last won the conference championship following the 2016-2017 season. Amahni Upshaw is the lone Trojan to have won a championship with the Trojans and her leadership has played a factir heading into this season’s tournament.

“She knows what it’s like and is able to talk everybody through it,” Rigby said. “It’s an experience for everybody. A lot of newcomers, who we are trying to teach what to expect in New Orleans.”

Troy leads the nation in rebounds (1,464), rebounds per game (50.4) and offensive rebounds (22). Even with the high rebounding totals, Rigby feels like her team has lost a little momentum on the boards and they are working to get back to where they were earlier in the year.

“We are emphasizing it on every play,” Rigby said. “Coaches are watching different players at different positions, making sure that they are blocking out and getting into position to rebound. We are rewarding high rebounders. We are holding people accountable if they are low rebounders. We are weaving it throughout the fabric of what we are doing every single moment.”

The Trojans’ 22-win season is second best in program history. Only the 1996-1997 (23-7) team had more wins.

“We are really grateful for that,” Rigby said. “incredible staff, they do an incredible job. Of course, really talented players. We have been through ups and downs, heartbreaks and moments of exhilaration. They really have a strong will to win.”

Troy’s quarterfinal game will begin at 2 p.m. on Thursday.