His team may be an underdog this season in the Atlantic 10, but women’s basketball head coach Mike Bozeman says he and his players are ready to begin the season.
The Colonials travel to Denton, Texas to kick off the season Tuesday night against the Mean Green of North Texas. It will be the first time the Colonials, who went 4-9 in away games last year compared to 13-4 at home, have opened their season outside of the District since beginning at Vanderbilt a decade ago.
Beginning the season on the road can be a worrisome task, but Bozeman thinks his young team will take advantage of it.
“It took us a while last year to be a better road team,” Bozeman said. “Our conference has such parity in it that we need to be able to steal a game or two on the road and I think our schedule is situated to where it’s going to be a benefit for us to start out on the road.”
Sophomore guard Tiana Myers admitted she didn’t know much about North Texas, but she and her teammates know that playing on the road can be tough.
“On the road is more intense and you have people going against you,” she said, referring to opposing fans. “We have to stay united as a family and as a team.”
North Texas also has a second-year coach in Shanice Stephens, and the team has lost five seniors from last season. The Mean Green only has two seniors on its roster and has brought in four freshmen as well, meaning their matchup with the all-underclassman Colonials will feature plenty of youth.
GW did not have any exhibition tune-ups, so the game against the Mean Green will be their first since a crushing double-overtime defeat to Florida Gulf Coast in the first round of last year’s WNIT. North Texas, meanwhile, went 1-1 in a pair of preseason games against Division II opponents and lost its season-opener 81-51 at Stephen F. Austin Saturday.
As the first game approaches, Bozeman said he is impressed with his team’s progression throughout the final stages of preseason practice, but that he is wary of what might occur when the actual season begins.
“The energy is always high,” he said. “You just don’t know how they’re going to react when the lights come on, because we’re so young.”
Myers, on the other hand, said she has been ready for this season to begin ever since the end of last season and thinks it’s about time that she and her teammates get back onto the court.
“I’m feeling great,” she said. “I’m feeling confident in myself and in my teammates. We’ve been working hard. I think we’re ready.”
The second-year guard will have the chance to see if she is correct as the Colonials get underway Tuesday night in Texas with tipoff slated for 8 p.m.