Women’s Team Ready for Challenge

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Experience abounds for the women’s basketball team as the Mavericks lost only one senior from last year’s squad.

Coach Samantha Morrow anticipates big improvements after suffering through a 7–21 campaign in 2011-12. “We want to put a great product out there and have our fans come watch us play. We’re going to be a different team this year.”

Eleven players returned. Only leading scorer Bianca Sauls is gone from a team that finished 5–11 in the Southland Conference. Guards Sabreena DeNure and Kiara Parker, who started 43 games between them last season, are the only seniors. Junior forward Briana Walker led the team with 5.8 rebounds per game.

The Mavericks added three junior college transfers and three freshmen. Aron Garcia, a 6–1 forward from Hill College, and Laila Suleiman, a 5–3 guard from Redlands (Okla.) Community College, are two of the top newcomers.

Our new players bring more intensity and more competition to the court,” Morrow says. “They’re challenging our returnees for playing time.”

UT Arlington joins the Western Athletic Conference this season. After a rugged nonconference slate—George Washington, Michigan State, Oral Roberts, Memphis, Oklahoma State—the Mavericks open WAC play Dec. 29 at New Mexico State. The first home conference game is Jan. 10 against UT San Antonio at College Park Center.

The WAC is a much more challenging conference, no doubt,” Morrow says. “The travel will be different for us, but they have to travel here, too. I believe we are committed to standing up to the challenge.”

The WAC tournament is March 12–16 in Las Vegas. All conference teams participate, with the top six seeds receiving a first-round bye. The winner advances to the NCAA Tournament.

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