The Texas Wesleyan women’s basketball team has added coaching experience, and coaches and players say they hope to remain injury free for the 2018-2019 season.
The Lady Rams were ranked No. 7 in a preseason Sooner Athletic Conference poll, according to ramsports.net. The team lost an exhibition game to Tarleton State University 63-46 on Nov. 1, and begins its season Friday with a 4 p.m. game against Louisiana State University-Shreveport in Waxahachie.
Head coach Steve Trachier says the injuries that hobbled last season’s team are in the rearview mirror, and the players are ready to return to their original roles on the team.
“We had to play kind of a different lineup last year,” Trachier said. “But we have added some new players that will blend well with the original lineup.”
One of those returning from injuries is senior guard Bailey Broadnax. Trachier attests to her effective leadership style; he said she leads through both her actions and, when necessary, being vocal.
“She’s really good with the younger players, helping to teach nuances of the game,” Trachier said. “She serves as mentor to them. To me, that’s all part of effective leadership.”
Junior guard Nicole Gleason feels the same way.
“She encourages the team when we are down and no one is talking,” Gleason said. “She calls out stuff we don’t see on defense.”
Broadnax credits her natural leadership to her own commanding personality.
“It’s hard to say, it’s just in me,” Broadnax said. “It’s about having a goal in mind and knowing what we’re capable of doing, I’m just the person willing to step up and help make it happen.”
Broadnax had signed to Indiana University as a high school sophomore. However, the birth of her first child compelled her to make other plans for her college career.
“Bill [Franey] wanted me fresh out of high school,” Broadnax said. “When I found out I was pregnant, I decided to come to Wesleyan.”
Broadnax played for Hill College before coming to Wesleyan during the 2016-2017 season; that season she posted a .660 free throw percentage and had 234 rebounds, according to ramsports.net.
Broadnax missed the 2017-2018 season due to a knee injury; while she is on the roster, she will not be medically cleared to play for another two weeks.
“Given that I’m coming off an injury, it’s hard to say where I will take basketball by the end of this year,” Broadnax said. “It all depends on how my knee feels when I come back.”
Another returning face this season is former head coach Bill Franey, who has returned to the coaching staff as an advisor and volunteer assistant coach, Trachier said.
“Bill decided he wants to be active again in coaching and so we brought him on as a consultant,” Trachier said.
Franey retired from coaching the women’s basketball team in 2017 after six seasons; the Lady Rams were 103-82 (.560) during his time at the helm, according to txwes.edu.
Franey said that while it is still early in the season, this year’s squad shows promise.
“It’s hard to tell early,” Franey said. “But I think this is the best shooting team maybe they’ve ever had. This is the best shooting team I’ve seen here in a long time.”
Franey remains cautiously optimistic, maintaining that while the team is certainly good, they still have other things to work on.
“Exactly after one exhibition game, it’s hard to say for sure,” Franey said. “I’m just trying to make us better.”
The Lady Rams play LSU-Shreveport at 4 p.m. Friday and Baker University at 1 p.m. Saturday. Both games are in Waxahachie. For more information go to ramsports.net.