Smiles and enthusiasm stand out on the faces of the women’s basketball team at Eastern this year.
What they may not have accomplished in the past has been no discouragement to the positive spirit of a team that is ready to open some eyes.
As one of Eastern’s more developing athletic programs, it has a lot to prove, but there is much reason for optimism.
Running drills in practice show that there are still many kinks that need to be worked out, but an overall balance of skill and solid play exists.
“We’ve had two scrimmages and we looked good in both of them,” Head Coach David Storms said. “Last year, I couldn’t say that.”
With only three returning players from last year’s team and a total of only ten players on the roster, youth, inexperience and depth will all be biting at the heels of the women’s basketball team this season.
However, Storms believes that as a team, they have improved both offensively and defensively from last year.
The three returning players from last season were all in the top four for scoring last season. Seniors Raya Shores (12.3 ppg) and Jacey Bray (5.16 ppg) and junior Mandy Kuiken (8.24 ppg), will provide the anchor for a team in need of leadership and experience.
Even if everyone plays to the best of her abilities, the greatest obstacle for team will be to stay healthy so as not to put the team in a position where it has no one to substitute in a game situation.
“I think we’re going to surprise some people this year, so long as we stay healthy,” Storms said.
With a promising young group of players coming into the system this year, the future of the women’s basketball team at Eastern looks relatively bright.
With youth comes inexperience but also the opportunity to learn quickly, and that’s what will happen to this year’s women’s baskeball team.
What mistakes may happen this year will only serve as a learning block for the next three years that some of these girls will be playing on the team for.
“We’ve pretty much turned the corner, and we should be a much better team for the next couple of years,” Storms said.
A clean slate and an 0-0 record have given the Eagles reason to be excited for this upcoming season.
Hopefully, come the end of the season, everyone will still be smiling.