Texas Wesleyan University women’s basketball team has made significant progress this season.
The Lady Rams (11-5, 4-2 SAC as of Jan. 14) have almost doubled their wins compared to this time last season, when they were 7-11, 2-3 SAC.
Head coach Bill Franey said this is largely due to the health of his athletes.
“Last year everyone got hurt,” Franey said. “We lost seven players to injuries — four starters, and the other three were the first back-ups off the bench. When your best players are healthy it makes a big difference.”
Over the Christmas break, the Lady Rams clinched two wins in Florida before losing to Midwestern State University on Dec. 31 and then bouncing back with a four-game winning streak.
Franey said there are several key players contributing to the team this season, including forward Katelynn Threats, the only two-time All-American in program history and the Sooner Athletic Conference Player of the Week for Dec. 26 through Jan. 1; and guard Ashlie Bruner, a junior college transfer from West Los Angeles College and record holder for most steals (11) in a single game, the team’s 104-68 win over Crowley’s Ridge College.
“Katelynn is leading the conference in rebounds, I think she is third in the conference in scoring, and she is on her way to a third All-American,” Franey said. “Ashlie Bruner is leading the conference in assist, and averaging double figures every game.”
Threats, a senior criminal justice major, agreed that a key difference in the team’s success this season is the lack of injury. But the heart and chemistry of her teammates is important, too.
“The girls really want to be here,” Threats said. “They want to play, they want to give it their all, they want to win some games and they want to take us to nationals.”
Threats expects the team to continue to play as they have been all season, and expects to continue to recover from her past knee injuries to finish her career with a bang and, she hopes, be named an All-American for the third time.
“Of course one more All-American is a goal of mine. However, that is not my priority when I step on the court,” Threats said. “My main priority is to help my team get to nationals.”
Bruner, a junior early childhood education major, said that playing with Threats and junior forward Bailey Broadnax has made things pretty easy.
“Bailey’s excitement and Kay’s will to win make things better and make things more fun,” Bruner said. There are still a lot of games to be played before the SAC tournament begins Feb. 28, but Franey and the players feel good about where they stand right now.
“I definitely plan on winning conference and getting to the national tournament,” Bruner said.