Australian Institute of Sports women’s basketball team

Courtney Turner, senior guard, goes up for a lay-up during the women’s basketball practice. Toeisha Cooper, junior guard and forward, is ready for the rebound. The team is preparing for the game against the Australian Institute of Sports women’s basketball team set for 7 p.m. Nov.7 at the Sid Richardson Center. This game will be the season home opener for the Lady Rams.

Texas Wesleyan’s women’s basketball team is playing against an overseas team, first time ever for the program.

The Lady Rams will play against the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) women’s basketball team at 7 p.m. on Nov. 7 in the Sid Richardson Center for their season opener.

Bill Franey, head women’s basketball coach, said the Australian team has a reputation for developing players to play for the Australian national team, and to compete in the Olympics as well.

Franey said this game can help prepare the team for upcoming games and eventually nationals.

“They are bigger than most of the girls we will be playing against,” Franey said. “It’ll look a lot like the games we will see at nationals and although these girls are tall, I know our speed and quickness can benefit us.”

Audrianna Simpson, sophomore business administration major and guard, is a returner from last season and said she is proud to play the AIS women’s basketball team.

“I feel as though it is both an accomplishment and an honor,” Simpson said. “With the team we have, it will allow us to bring our A-game but yet stay grounded at the same time.”

According an AIS release, the head coach wanted his players to experience hard competition and good basketball.

“They sent an email to me asking to play against us, and I thought it would be a great opportunity for us to play them,” Franey said.

The media release also stated that the head coach of the Australia team wanted to play schools in Texas and California because these states produce a lot of female basketball talent.

The AIS will play nine games in its basketball tour playing against universities in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes, National Collegiate Athletic Association, and the National Junior College Athletic Association.

Raven Alexander, senior business administration major and guard, said she is ready for the game.

“To me, it’s sort of a humbling experience because this will be the first time our school has been scheduled to play an overseas team,” Alexander said. “It will put in perspective how talented we really are.”

Franey said the team lost a lot of players last year, and this game will allow the new players to come together for the first official game of the season.

“We graduated seven seniors who ate up a lot of minutes,” Franey said. “We are just trying to get the girls to work together and get better for conference.”

Alexander said the Lady Rams have been practicing for their games one day at a time.

“We try and make our practices as game-like as possible, to make sure we are going to the highest level we can,” Alexander said.

-Emma Fradette