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Lady Rams fight for a better season

Lady Rams head coach Bill Franey coaches players Lauren Benjamin (with the ball), Courtney Chargois (far left), and Leah Taylor (blue jersey). Photo by Karan Muns

Last season, the Lady Rams were hobbled by injuries to several players, and they paid the price.

The team finished 8-21 and finished at the bottom of the Sooner Athletic Conference.

This season, the team hopes to stay injury free, improve their record and go into postseason play.

“The team is looking good and working hard,” Franey said. “Barring injuries this is a team that can advance to the national tournament and do well. The team will have to fight hard every game.”

Katelynn Threats is the only two-time all-American at Wesleyan and she will be returning for her senior year, Franey said.

“If it is our turn to part the water she will be our Moses,” Franey said.

The team is working hard in practice and learning to build trust and chemistry, he said.

“This is the kind of unselfish team that is fun to coach,” Franey said.

The team lost a few players, some of whom will be hard to replace, Franey said.

“Onyesonam Nolisa was one of the best players in school history,”Franey said. “She will be impossible to replace.” Franey said.

Practice is where all the groundwork for the team is created and planned out, Franey said.

The team has been working hard in and out of practice to get to know each other and create chemistry, Threats said.

She sees a difference between last year’s team and this year’s: this year everyone is working toward being successful and creating a winning season.

“This is shown in things like there work ethic in practice, not being selfish and they uplift one another because at the end of the day it takes a whole team to be successful,” Threats said.

Threats believes that the team could be more successful than last season if everyone can remain healthy and get to know how each member operates.

“We’ve got quite a few girls this year,” Threats said, “and they all are fighting hard for their position on the court as well as making the next girl better so that we can be successful.”

Threats is excited to begin playing this season and finish out her career at Wesleyan.

“I’m more excited to possibly do something that has never been done during my time here and that’s go all the way,” Threats said.

Threats gives some of the credit to Franey for believing in her and pushing her limits.

“I am very fortunate enough to have been given the opportunity by Bill Franey who saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself,” Threats said.

The team has been practicing and scrimmaging each other every day for more than a month, said  Falesha Fuller, a sophomore exercise science major.

“Scrimmaging each other is allowing us to learn about each other and find the chemistry needed in order to play well as a group,” she said.

The team seems different this year, Fuller said. It’s more relaxed but everyone is still focused on winning.

“We’re able to make jokes and laugh while practicing and working hard,” Fuller said. “Everyone is positive and has that drive to win.”

The team gained quite a few players, so this team is bigger than last year’s, Fuller said.

“I expect a lot more wins this year because we have too much talent to not win,” Fuller said. “We will definitely be a team to fear and watch out for.”

The team has been preparing for the upcoming season by conditioning to prevent injuries, said Angela Nguyen, a senior business management major.

“We have been playing more full-court play between one another to help us get to know one another as well as allow us to work a lot on full-court offense and defense,” Nguyen said.

The 2016-2017 team has about half a dozen new players, and they bring a new level of excitement to the team, Nguyen said.

“This year’s team finds motivation within one another to make sure that everyone on the team is on the same page,” Nguyen said. “The work ethic is a lot better than it has been because we as a team know how to pick one another up.”

Nguyen thinks the Lady Rams could go far because of the experience the returning players have and the fact that everyone is healthy.

“I think we could be in the top four of our conference,” Nguyen said.

The team is anxious to begin the season and hopes that everyone can remain healthy this year, said Leah Taylor, a junior psychology major.

“Last year we started off really good but had some injuries,” Taylor said.

Basketball is a demanding sport and playing with a limited number of players due to injuries hinders the team, Taylor said.

“This year everyone is healthy and we are practicing harder than ever,” Taylor said.

The team reloaded its roster and is ready to start playing games she said.

“We have some new players and they are really good alongside our veterans,” she said.

The support of teammates is great but it isn’t the same as having a large crowd at games, Taylor said.

“We have great team bonding,” Taylor said. “We support and encourage one another.  We would love to see our school support us and cheer us on.  Let’s go Rams!”

The Lady Rams’ first home game is Nov. 23 against East Texas Baptist University. Game time is 6 p.m. The team will play Texas Christian University in an exhibition game at TCU at 5 p.m. on Nov. 8. Tickets are $5 but admission is free for children under 12 and anyone with a Wesleyan ID.

Lady Rams head coach Bill Franey coaches players Lauren Benjamin (with the ball), Courtney Chargois (far left), and Leah Taylor (blue jersey).
Photo by Karan Muns
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Lady Rams fight for a better season