As the volleyball and soccer seasons close, basketball season begins and the University of Dallas Women’s basketball squad is eager to get underway.
With three weeks of fall practices complete and one scrimmage under their belt, the Crusaders are looking for a fresh start after the departure of Head Coach Greta Grothe and the addition of new Head Coach Lacey Burns.
Grothe departed from the program to join the staff at conference foe Southwestern University. Under Grothe, the Crusaders were 19-32. UD faces Grothe and Southwestern on Jan. 21 at the Maher Center.
Burns, the former head coach at Concordia University in California, aims to improve on Dallas’ 3-11 record against Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) opponents and their 11-15 overall record last season.
“It’s about the process, it’s not about the results,” Burns said. “Our goal as a staff and as a team is to improve one percent better each day. As long as we’re doing that, we’re deeming that as success.”
Burns is the third head coach for the Crusaders in four years, and hopes to build chemistry by reminding the team of the joy of the game.
“[The girls] actually spend a lot of time off the court with each other,” Burns said. “It’s more about mixing it up and having fun at practice. You know, it’s not all about basketball.”
A short roster and injuries are already plaguing the team, but the Crusaders received some help from the women’s soccer program.
“We gotta stay healthy. We have nine right now, but we just had Olivia [Severson] join. She was playing soccer and we’re really excited about her.”
The addition of the sophomore gives the Crusaders additional depth at forward.
Severson has served as a goalkeeper on the women’s soccer squad for the past two seasons and owns a 1.12 Goals Against Average in 12 games played.
In addition to the new leadership at the bench, the Crusaders are led by returning senior guard Shelby Waldron, as well as senior forwards Helen Onyenso and Michelle DeCoud.
After officially starting her senior season, DeCoud is eager to enjoy her final games as a Crusader.
“Honestly, I really like where we are three weeks into practice,” DeCoud said. “Getting used to a new system and a new coach, we’re taking to it really well. Personally, I just want to go out and have a great senior year, finish strong, and have fun.”
DeCoud led the SCAC last season in blocks with 57 and scored a team high 398 points. The Colorado native was also named team MVP.
With an established veteran presence, the freshmen have done their part in bettering the team. Guards Francesca Weisbruch and Madilyne Borjon, as well forwards Jules Oiveti and Vanessa Diaz, have already made a strong impression as the newest additions to the program.
“I’m very confident and encouraged by what I see out of the freshmen,” DeCoud said. “Coming from high school to college ball can be pretty scary and daunting, but it’s great to see their enthusiasm and hard work.Each of them brings a different element to the court.”
The team begins their season at home against Dallas Christian College on Nov. 15 with tipoff at 7:30 p.m.