July 16th, 2024

Horn women’s basketball in rebuild year

By Lethbridge Herald on November 1, 2023.

Justin Seward

Lethbridge Herald

The University of Lethbridge Pronghorns women’s basketball  begin a new Canada West season tomorrow in  the process of going through somewhat of rebuilding year.

The team loss their two main scorers in  Haily Weaver and Jessica Haenni from last season and will have a task of trying to fill those holes.

“It’s learning how to play without them,” said head coach Dave Waknuk.

“ So right now, I think the preseason was learning how to score with losing your two top scorers and I think it’s still a work in progress.  I think that’s our goal going forward is just to  continue to find different ways to score whether it’s through our defence or through more efficient offence. But I think the core here has been growing quickly, improving quickly and working hard. I’m really excited to get into real games with this team.”

The Horns have a core that have been around for a while.

“So it’s asking them for more right now,” said Waknuk.

“It’s increasing roles or changing roles and  adding some of that scoring punch to it as well and then those two also had leadership with the team.  So it’s also asking others to step up in  those areas. So it’s great because that’s the natural progression here is that you want growth in your athletes. And now athletes that have been here year two, three, four (or) five , now they get to grow and take on a little bit more ownership to the team.”

Waknuk thinks the success will lie with the team’s defensive efforts.

“While we’ve struggled to score in the preseason, we’ve defended very well and I think that’s an identity  that we’ve kind of found,” said Waknuk.

“So I think we can defend well. I think it’s going to be definitely a team attack moving the ball. I don’t think we have one dominant or two dominant scorers like we’ve had in the past. I think it’s a scoring by committee team. So it’s going to take contributions from multiple people and it could be different people on different nights which a good thing.”

Waknuk will lean on the likes of Kyra Collier to lead the way for U of L.

“She’s been a real solid player for us last year and has  really improved a ton and we’re going to ask her to keep improving this year,” said Waknuk.

“She’s been a big piece of what we’re doing.”

The continued improvement of Raymond’s Abby Graves has excited Waknuk.

Waknuk feels somebody like Stirling’s Courtney McKee brings a lot of potential to be a  key scorer on this team.

Collier is optimistic going into a new season.

“We have a lot of new girls on the team, our chemistry is good, we enjoy being around with each other,” said Collier.

“So I’m just optimistic on how we’re going to play, how we’re going (to) do.

Effort and energy is what Collier thinks the team’s biggest strength will be.

Offence is going to be shared across the board.

“We’re going (to) share the ball a lot more,” said Collier.

“People are going to have their nights where they go off and such. I don’t think it’s going to be as individually focused on each player. It’s going to be more cohesion of group playing with each other to find those scores instead of relying on two people to find those scores for us.”

U of L opens up at UBC Thunderbirds tomorrow and Saturday.

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