Lady Bears hope to start strong against Lamar

Freshman guard Alexis Morris looks to shoot a basket during a pre-season exhibition against Washburn University on Monday evening in the Ferrell Center. The No. 3 ranked Lady Bears crushed the visiting Ichabods 117-33, and Morris recorded 13 points. Baylee VerSteeg | Multimedia Journalist

By Adam Gibson | Copy Editor

The No. 3 Lady Bears finished 2-0 in the preseason and show no signs of slowing down as they prepare to face Lamar University at 7 p.m. today at the Ferrell Center.

Both the team’s defense and offense had a stellar outing against Washburn on Monday night, with the defense holding the Ichabods to just 33 points and offense lighting up the scoreboard by putting up 117 points.

Even though the Lady Bears won their first two exhibition games, head coach Kim Mulkey said there is still work to be done for her young team going into the regular season and playing a talented Lamar team.

“We’re not polished, but the season is here and we play a Lamar team that is quick –– a Lamar team that is picked to win their league,” Mulkey said. “They don’t have the size that we have, but they are a very good basketball team.”

The Cardinals went 22-8 overall last season. Junior guard Moe Kinard led the team in scoring with 15.3 points per game. Kinard started in all 30 games Lamar played, was named Southland Conference Newcomer of the Year and earned second-team All-Southland accolades. Having 15 players on the roster, seven being upperclassmen, Lamar will have more experience over the young Lady Bears.

With just 10 players on the roster, seven of which are underclassmen, there are going to have to be players that move around to play any position they need filled.

Senior forward Dekeiya Cohen is one of just two seniors for the Lady Bears and is ready to take on any responsibility Mulkey asks of her.

“There are definitely times where I have to go inside or out,” Cohen said. “Just depending on where she [Mulkey] wants me I will go out there and just try to fulfill the role that she asks me to fulfill.”

The team plays three games in a span of five days. Entering the season with quick turnaround matchups can be difficult, especially for a young team, but Mulkey said she isn’t treating it any differently.

For Mulkey, preparing for this stretch of three games is the same as getting ready for any other game during the season. However, this stretch is something that the four freshmen on the team are not used to and have not seen before and will have to play hard for several days in a short time.

“[It’s] no different. The roster is going to be what it is and hopefully we will stay healthy,” Mulkey said. “We will prepare a scouting report and go over everything we need to go over. The only difference is for some of the freshmen, this will be new to them. They have to play this hard for this many days.”

While it may be composed of younger players, the team has shown its ability to work together to put up veteran numbers. In their final exhibition game against Washburn, the Lady Bears dominated the paint, scoring 80 points while limiting the Ichabods to just 10.

Sophomore power forward Lauren Cox played 26 minutes and scored 17 points in Monday’s win. Cox was just one of seven players on the team to score in double-digits.

Cox credits this success is to the close-knit relationship the players have with one another. With the Cardinals being ranked first in the Southland Conference preseason rankings, the Lady Bears are going to have to keep up the fast pace and teamwork they have shown during their exhibition games.

“I think we have great team chemistry. Just from playing with each other during the summer,” Cox said. “I think we really get along and we know how to play with each other.”

After the matchup against Lamar, the Lady Bears will play again against Coppin State at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Ferrell Center.

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