The Samford women’s basketball season is right around the corner. The team has been practicing for over a month and are getting ready for their season to start. Few changes were made to the roster this season, as the Bulldogs only lost lone senior Hannah Nichols. The limited change has allowed the young team to bond and gain chemistry, including during their trip to the Dominican Republic over the summer.
“The bond we created over the summer until now is really special,” redshirt junior Ta’naisha Hill said. “Spending time in a different country together allowed us to see things we don’t see on a day-to-day.”
The team is very optimistic about the upcoming season. Some on the returning roster reflected on this past season and compared it to the one coming up, which in turn, has given players time to identify their roles on the team. The older players are settling into their new roles as leaders.
“My role on the team is being a vocalist and (bringing) a different level of energy and intensity on and off the court,” sophomore Raven Omar said. “My decision making as a point guard has improved. Personally I’ve learned that it’s okay to have a role and be great in what I do with that role. Basketball teaches you how to trust, because if you don’t necessarily understand something, you have to trust that it is what’s best for the team.”
Junior point guard Charity Brown also acknowledged her role as a leader on and off the court.
“I have to set a good example for the rest of the teammates, so that it could flow through out the team,” Brown said. “I am responsible for setting us into our offense. The energy has been great mainly because we are kind of used to playing with each other now since mostly everyone has a year under the belt.”
Several players have taken notice of each other’s growth. One of the players who has made an impression on her other teammates is guard/forward Shauntai Battle.
“(Battle) definitely stepped out her shell,” Omar said. “Last year, she was very reserved. This year, it’s a totally different beast out there.”
Another player who has gained attention from her teammates is redshirt sophomore guard Katie Allen.
“I think Katie Allen has shown the most growth since last year,” Brown said. “She is back this year from a torn ACL and redshirt year, yet she hasn’t skipped a beat. She is a strong and resilient individual and she has worked very hard to get back on the court this year and I think she is doing a fantastic job.”
This season, the players said they are finding inspiration in a variety of places. Brown said it’s her teammates, the ones she goes to battle with, who keep her focused and ready to play.
“My teammates motivate me to work hard on and off the court because at the end of the day, we are all playing for each other and one goal, and that’s to win the SoCon Championship and make it to the NCAA tournament,” Brown said. “I have all the faith in the world that we can do just that, as long as we trust the process.”
In Hill’s case, her mother is where she said she finds the biggest source of strength.
“Her workload as well as her work-ethic as a single-parent and the sacrifices she made for me and my brothers, It just pushes me to strive for everything that I want out of life,” Hill said. “We didn’t always have it all but we had enough. I commend my mom so much for it. She’s a strong woman.”
The Bulldogs’ first game will be at UT-Martin on Nov. 6 at 5:30 p.m. CST.
Joi Moore is a JMC major with a concentration in Print.