Ferris State women’s basketball ball team has fumbled through a slow start in their first ten games of the 2013-14 season.
The Bulldogs have managed to improve their conference record to 4-4 and overall record to 4-6 during a 3-2 stretch over their last five games.
One of the obstacles is the lack of roster continuity from last season. The Bulldogs have five returning players and eight new additions to the team.
“We are all trying to figure out our roles and what we can do for the team,” senior guard Sarah DeShone said. “After one of our seniors had a season-ending injury, it took us another step back because now some girls had to take on even greater roles.”
After the Bulldogs’ win against Walsh on Jan. 11, they are getting ready for upcoming games this week, which comes with a trip to the Upper Peninsula.
“Two teams in the north are 8-0 in the conference, and we play them Thursday at their place,” DeShone said. “It is definitely going to be our biggest challenge. We just have to have a good week of practices and get plenty of rest with school starting and everyone’s schedules getting busy again, so we just have to stay focused and get rest.”
Of the eight new players, five are freshmen who have had to really step up to fill some big shoes.
“The jump from high school to college is huge,” freshman guard Emily Evans said. “It is much faster and you have to be quicker in every aspect. But I think the biggest difference is mental toughness. If you are not mentally tough, then you will not make it in this league.”
Ferris has had half of their first ten games on the road so far this season, which can take a toll on some of the players.
“It is really nice to have the home court advantage,” freshman guard Ally Christman said. “On the other hand, traveling with the team and playing away brings us all closer together and we have a blast on the road together.”
The freshmen are just now beginning to adapt to this level, which is creating a little more consistency. Their last two losses were by a combined six points.
“As a freshman, there were some nerves with it being my first collegiate away game,” Christman said. “Once the game got started and we got in the flow, all the nerves had disappeared.”
The Bulldogs have tried not to allow traveling take dictate their performance on the court.
“I do not think the fact of the games being away has affected our game,” Christman said. “We have so much talent and athleticism on our team. It was a matter of figuring out our own roles on the team and last Saturday, we figured those roles out and we are ready to take on the north this week.”
The Bulldogs will take on Michigan Tech on Thursday, Jan. 16 with tip off at 5:30 p.m. in Houghton.