The UTM women’s D-league basketball team wins yet again on Sunday, November 6, staying undefeated with a record of 3-0 in their 2016 campaign. The UTM squad defeated UTSC in the RAWC 55-36 in a hard-fought battle all the way until the final whistle.
Head coach Salee Johnson-Edwards was proud of her team’s effort this afternoon, but still expects them to play at an even higher level if they want to avenge their championship loss from last season. “It was a good team effort. There are some key points we want to work on, but with wins like this, everyone gets involved and everyone gets to play, so that’s pretty good,” says Edwards.
Going forward with still two-thirds of the season left, the women have a lot of time to work on their weaknesses that were present at the end of the game. “We have to have more discipline on the defensive side by not reaching in, because if we keep doing that it’ll come back and haunt us. I think overall we’ve done a good job on team concepts. It’s just some individuals that need to work on things, which will end up putting the pieces together,” says Edwards.
Chemistry and experience are the biggest benefits the team has, which sets them apart from the rest of the competition. “A majority of our team has returned from last year, and many of them have played for me the past three years. They know the system, and they know what’s expected of them,” says Edwards.
Last year UTM ended up in first place during the regular season games, even making their way to the finals. But in the finals, the women suffered a heartbreaking loss to UTSG by a score of 55-50. However, the women are better this year than they were last year. They’re looking to change the script and make themselves into a championship team instead of a finals team. “I think they’re hungry, and they’ve been playing with a chip on their shoulder. They’ve been playing expecting to get back to the finals, and there are many players who know they can’t end off the season this year the way we finished it off last year,” says Edwards.
In other sports or teams around the league, the expectations for a D-league team may not be the same as the expectations for a varsity team, but for Edwards and assistant coach Shannon Patterson, these women are treated with the same respect and temperament that the varsity team receives. “I think for us it’s basically changing the culture of the program and turning their mindsets from D-league athletes to varsity athletes. I want to give them that experience of feeling like a varsity player, so a lot of the things that we do will mimic what we’d want from them next year,” says Edwards.
The women look to dominate in the offensive zone once again in a couple of weeks when they face the St. George team on Sunday, November 20 at the RAWC.