While growing up, most kids who played sports competitively dreamed of playing on a collegial and even professional level. A majority, if not all of Radford University’s Women’s Basketball team have been shooting hoops for at least 10 years.
“When I started out playing basketball, college basketball was the furthest thing from my mind. It wasn’t ‘til about eighth grade when I made the decision to stop all other sports and really work at basketball college became a priority,” said second-year graduate student Rachael Ross.
Radford Women’s Basketball team’s overall favorite thing about being a part of the group is the fact that their teammates are like a second family. “When you’re in need of anything, somebody is there to help you no matter what,” said sophomore Destinee Walker.
Throughout their season, the team has several pre-game rituals they do. No matter if they’re home or away before the game starts the team will huddle and say the Lord’s Prayer.
“If we are practicing on the road the day before a game, we have a tradition of shooting half court shots. If we happen to make one (which this team normally does), we stop for milkshakes or ice cream on the way home,” said head coach Michael McGuire.
The Women’s Basketball team recalled that they have grown individually and as a team since the start of their season in November. Multiple players have gone out of their comfort zone and started in a different role than what they were used to, and the team as a whole has learned to handle adversity well.
The 2016-2017 season was a pretty good one for our lady Highlanders. As of Valentine’s Day, they were #1 in the Big South Conference, with an overall record of 17-6 and conference record of 9-3.
Looking back, Ross’s favorite game of the season was playing Liberty in the Dedmon Center. “I think we match up well with them and it was fun being a part of that atmosphere. It was two teams hungry for a win and getting after it. We ended up winning a pretty high scoring game.”
There’s always room for improvement, however. Coach McGuire said they have to focus on improving their offense, especially in the half court. “We must be more efficient taking care of the ball and limiting turnovers, improve our decision making, and everyone must be on the same page on each possession.”
From a player’s perspective, Worthy believes as a team they need to work on their “ability to put our foot on the gas. We are very capable of doing so.”
If there’s a young girl out there who dreams of playing college or professional basketball one day, our lady Highlander’s have some great advice. “Be sure that it is something that you really enjoy doing because it is a true commitment and blessing. Whenever you have the chance to play the game, give it your all! And most important do not forget to have fun!” said junior Jayda Worthy.
Liberty, UNC Asheville, and High Point are among some of the teams our lady Highlander’s are looking forward to facing in the tournament. The Radford Women’s Basketball team starts the 2017 Big South Tournament on March 9.