The University of Dallas women’s basketball team opened their season against the University of St. Thomas on Friday, Nov. 9. The Crusaders fell to the Celts 77-59 in a matchup that will become familiar in future seasons as St. Thomas is set to join the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) in the 2019-2020 academic year.
Dallas has three players returning from last year’s team. Junior Panda Green and sophomore Vanessa Diaz both started in Friday’s game. Sophomore Jules Oliveti will rejoin the team in the spring after she completes her semester abroad in Rome.
“We have two great captain leaders in Vanessa and Panda that have set the tone for hard work and daily improvement,” said Head Coach Lacey Burns. “We’ve only been practicing together truly for a few weeks, so I am confident in this group and their commitment to the process.”
UD’s offense struggled on Friday as they shot 24.6% for the game from the floor, and turned the ball over 26 times.
The Crusaders’ frontcourt played well as they out-rebounded St. Thomas 55-43. The difference in rebounding was all on the offensive end as UD had 24 offensive rebounds to the Celts’ 12.
“The fact that we out-rebounded St. Thomas was a big win in my eyes because rebounding is in large part about effort,” said Burns.
Diaz led the way for Dallas with her first career a double-double, accruing 17 points and 13 rebounds. Freshman Faith Starnes shot lights out from the outside in her first collegiate game scoring 16 points and shooting 4-6 from beyond the 3-point line. Freshmen Tiffani Lowe added 11 points and led the team with 4 assists, and Green chipped in 8 points and led Dallas with 3 steals.
“I was really proud of the team and their efforts [Friday],” said Burns. “It’s natural to have some nerves with the first game of the season. All in all, many positive things to build on. It’s early and we will continue to grow into all we are capable of.”
The Crusaders continue the season with a three game road trip to California during Thanksgiving week. UD will play California Institute of Technology on Wednesday, Nov. 21, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps College on Friday, Nov. 23 and Pomona-Pitzer College on Saturday, Nov 24. Game times will be at 4, 6:30 and 6:30 p.m.
“Our focus leading up to our Cali trip will be on creating ‘chaos’ at practice so we are ready for that being the [other] team 3 nights in a row,” said Burns. “I believe practice chaos creates game calmness.”
The Crusader will then return home to the Maher Center to play Dallas Christian College on Wednesday, Nov. 28. All times are central.