Women's basketball searches for identity in season opener

Sports Reporter

The Texas State women’s basketball team will fight for its sixth consecutive season opening victory against Texas A&M International, Nov. 15. 

Although the Bobcats have won the past five opening games, Associate Head Coach Sue Serafini says that will not guarantee a win for this game.

“You have to be ready to compete for a full 40 minutes,” Serafini said. “In this world of sports you really don’t get to rest on your laurels. What you did last game isn’t a predicator to what you’re going to do this next game. We as coaches like to believe there is some correlation, but on any given day anyone can beat anyone and we make that real honest truth in our gym. We have to do what we have to do to be able to compete for 40 minutes. If we do that good things will happen.”

The Texas State A&M International Dustdevils had its most successful season last year topping it off by winning the Heartland Conference Championship. After losing four impact seniors they’ve made it a point to reload the roster with three transfer players who have a lot to offer.

Kiona Matthews, junior guard, will play a big role in the upcoming game. The Dustdevils played Texas A&M Corpus Christi for their season opener and Matthews played the entire 40 minutes with 23 points and nine rebounds. Serafini says controlling Matthews, averaging 24.8 points last season, will be a big part of the game.

“She’s a scrappy slasher that can get to the rim,” Serafini said. “She can shoot the three’s, she defends hard, she plays hard and she rebounds the basketball. [We want to] do a real good job of making her work to get the ball on every single touch and then as she catches it being able to contain her off the dribble and off the shot, but also getting her to make passes.”

Serafini believes Matthews is the focal point of the Dustdevils offense and it’ll be interesting to see which lady Bobcat will guard her. 

With Kaylan Martin and Ashley Ezeh gone, the Bobcats have big shoes to fill.  A lot of the weight will be put on the only two seniors left on the team: Meghan Braeuer, guard, and Jacqueline Jeffcoat, forward.

“For the two seniors, and for really all the returners, the advice is going to be lets be who we are every single day,” Serafini said. “We’ve got a great young group, a returning veteran group that’s gotten better. We’ve got the ability now to score from any given position not just an inside or an outside position. We’re excited about what’s to come.”

The Bobcats are working on creating their team identity in hopes that it will lead them to a championship.

“Every time we’re around our kids we talk championship," Serafine said. "So it’s championship in terms of who you are. It’s not just something you win it’s who you are. This is a season of opportunities for us to get better. We’ve been training since our season ended last year for this new start and that is exciting. For our group it’s an opportunity for them to define who they are and I will challenge them on Saturday to really define who we’re going to be.”

Follow Brittnie Curtis on Twitter @BrittnieeNicole.