Collin College's Lady Cougars will use the 84-46 loss to the No. 1 nationally ranked Trinity Valley Lady Cardinals as a learning experience in a short season that promises a lot of surprises.
Collin's women hung with the Lady Cards for much of the first quarter but succumbed to an aggressive visiting team which doubled up in the second quarter to take a commanding lead. By the final frame, Collin decided to use its deep bench, so that more players could get playing time.
Collin's leading scorer was Peyton Rush, who scored 14 points and had four rebounds, one assist, and one steal. She was followed by Haley Jones with 8 points, two boards, and two steals.
The Lady Cougars expect to rebound with a series of home games in the coming days that fans can watch in person at the Plano Campus (Spring Creek) or online via Facebook Live. They face Tyler Junior College at 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 23. Kilgore College visits Monday, Jan. 25 at 5 p.m. And Paris Junior College comes to Collin College Thursday, Jan. 28 at 5 p.m.
We had a chance to talk about the upcoming season with Lady Cougars Coach Jeff Allen before the game to discuss the upcoming season. Check it out below.
Which returners do you see significantly contributing/leading on your team this year?
We have three returners, but only one played last season. (Note: Skye Dugan was limited by an early season injury.) We are hoping that they all will help in a collective way.
Which new players do you think will make significant contributions this year?
It is hard to tell at this point, we have two scrimmages before we start our season. Hopefully we will learn a lot from that and move forward from there. This is going to be an ongoing process and hopefully they will all contribute in some way. This is a team sport, and we ask our players to do what they do best and be great teammates.
What adjustments, if any, did you have to make to your roster due to COVID-19? Did players who planned to come to Collin College decide to sit out or decide to attend a school closer to their homes?
I think we are like a lot of schools that were affected with COVID when it came to players and the season being moved to the spring semester. We are missing a returner who was an All-Conference player in Awa Leach who was not able to travel from New Zealand to return this season. We also signed a top player from New Zealand who was also unable to travel this season. We picked a few players during the fall and over break to help with our roster for the spring season.
How has practice been this season, with the long lead-up to regular games? Have you approached it differently?
Most definitely we have approached this season differently. With our season being pushed back to the spring we used the fall semester as more of an off-season mentality. We had to evaluate our players and take a slower approach because all of our players were not able to work out in gyms or play games for almost five months with all of the shutdowns of workout facilities. We came into the spring with a foundation that we set in the fall, and now we are in training camp mode leading up to our first game.
Reviewing the schedule, it looks like the season has been compressed, with more games being played closer together. Is that correct, and if so, how does that affect how you are preparing for individual opponents?
Yes, that is correct. Our main focus is always on us first. We talk to our players all the time about how this season is going to be different due to the tight schedule. We will study film, do our scouting reports, and get them prepared. It's just going to be a quicker turn around, and we will have to be up to that challenge. But every team is in the same situation, so there is no disadvantage. It is going to be the team that steps up and embraces the process that will succeed.
Which teams do you look forward to facing this season? Which will be your toughest competition?
Honestly, I look forward to just being able to go out there and play games. Our ladies have been working hard, and I want them to go out there and compete and have fun and as always represent Collin College in a great way.
Do you think the move to streaming games online will help develop the college's basketball fan base?
I hope it does. It will be nice for people who cannot get out to games to be able to watch a live stream. It can only be a positive.