Women’s team starts 2017-18 season

Sophomores Ivy and Emma Wallen start up the court in a game last season. The Lions have started 3-0 this season while scoring 100 points in the season opener. 

By Staff Writer Macie Pigg

The North Alabama women’s basketball team finished with a 19-10 season last year after losing to West Georgia 60-57 in the opening round of the Gulf South Conference Tournament.

Although the team had a 14-game improvement from the previous season, head coach Missy Tiber said this year the team could win more games.

“I was pleased with our year last year, but I think we have an opportunity to be better this year,” Tiber said. “I think we have a good understanding of things that held us back and obstacles we have to overcome this year to make sure that each day we get better.”

With eight returning players and six newcomers this season, Tiber said it is a relatively young group. Her biggest expectation is for the girls to improve every single day and grow together as a team.

“I don’t expect us to be great right now by any means,” Tiber said. “But I am impressed by how hard we’re working, and our commitment to one another on the team and what we’re trying to get accomplished this year.”

Forward Michaela DeKilder is the only senior for the team this year and Tiber said she has impressed in the pre-season.

“We have asked her to embrace doing more this year in the scoring column,” Tiber said. “Her confidence with the ball on the block this year will be a great benefit to our team.”

Tiber also named Emma Wallen, Ivy Wallen and Savannah Stults as returning players who will make a big impact on the season. Newcomers Ansley Eubank, Brittany Panetti, Kenysha Coulson and Darby Madden are expected to contribute, as well.

DeKilder said she thinks the team’s mindset has changed and is looking forward to the season.

“My expectations are to just always improve and do better,” DeKilder said. “So, to pick up and do better than we did last year (is the goal).”

When asked which game they were looking forward to, sophomore team captain Ivy Wallen said the bigger picture was more important.

“The main goal is to win a championship,” Wallen said. “That’s our number one goal.”

The GSC pre-season poll placed UNA women’s basketball team as finishing sixth in the conference standings. Tiber said she really does not make much of the pre-season rankings.

“To be honest, they mean nothing to me,” Tiber said. “I know the team that I have back and I know our new kids and what they can add to this team. I feel like we’re an upper echelon team in this league and it’s my job to get us there.”

The women’s team is 3-0 to start the year.