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Young Lady Choctaws Gaining Confidence
Women's basketball splits two-game homestand vs. UWA, UAH
The Mississippi College women’s basketball team fell to West Alabama on Friday night 70-38 before rebounding for a 51-43 win over Alabama-Huntsville on Sunday.
Greg Long, in his third season as head coach of the Lady Choctaws, says nearly half of the team is made up of newcomers, which Long specified is abnormal for their league.
“You look at almost every team that we play and you look across the board and it's seniors, juniors, grad transfers, and we have a bunch of freshmen and sophomores, a couple juniors, and a grad right now. However, only one of those juniors has played a lot of minutes.”
The team is young, and Long specifically mentioned that his priority with them is not collecting wins yet.
“I mean everyone wants to win, and I don’t use the word win with them right now—and it’s not because we’re not winning. Everyone looks at programs that win, and they’re like ‘winners win.’ Winners don’t win, they work, so what we’re doing right now is working—working together, working individually, and learning what it takes to become that winning team and that winning culture.”
Freshman Ava Knoedl scored a career-high of fifteen points and led the team in scoring in Friday night’s game. “We need lots of communication,” Knoedl said. “I think if we get that down we will be a force to be reckoned with. I think we’ll be really good.”
Knoedl said she is looking forward to “just continuing to grow closer together and figuring out how to play together and the growth that is going to come because we are a young team. Coach Long has been telling us ‘right now is a valley, but the highs are going to be so high,’ and I am really looking forward to reaching that point.”
Knoedl’s words seemed to come true on Sunday when the Choctaws won a close game against Alabama Huntsville. Kyiah Julian, a junior on the team, had a career-high of 21 points to lead to victory. The Choctaws and Chargers had relatively even first, second, and fourth quarters. However, the Choctaws’ 13-6 point run in the third quarter sealed their victory. This bumped the team’s record to 3-8 overall and 2-6 in conference.
“I love this team,” Long said. “I think we’ve got a great group of young women that represent everything that we want, and they are working their tails off.”
Long also talked about his confidence that the Lady Choctaws can and will turn things around. “We’re going through some growing pains right now, but we’re getting better. We’re in a valley, but we’re only going to get better together, and we’re just going to keep going.”
The Lady Choctaws’ next home game is Monday, January 2, against rival Delta State.
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