Photo by Oliver Chapin-Eiserloh
The women’s basketball team started the season strong with a 2–1 record. This is only the beginning of the season which stretches until February. Trinity has been chosen as the favorite to win the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Championship according to the SCAC Women’s Basketball Preseason Poll, promising an exciting season for the Tigers.
The Tigers won the SCAC last year, and they have won the conference title four times during head coach Cameron Hill’s seven seasons at Trinity. According to Hill, in addition to exciting gameplay, fans can expect to see an amazing team dynamic out on the court.
“I think the biggest thing [that you can expect to see this season] is that it’s a group that cares a lot about each other. They’re very close and I think that translates into the way they play. The culture of our program has evolved over the eight years that I’ve been the coach, and I’d say right now it’s definitely peaking,” Hill said. “We have good leadership in our senior class, we have very solid juniors, our sophomores are making their impact, and our [first-years] came in and have given us a great big boost. I think it’s a very fun brand of basketball and a very cool, cool group of girls.”
First-year forward Ashlyn Milton explained that the dynamic of the team is one of strong friendship and chemistry both on and off the court.
“I think that it’s a really deep team this year. I don’t see any weaknesses at all with our team which is really, really encouraging for the season. On and off the court, I think everybody is really good friends. I mean, I remember before we even started practicing, I would eat lunch and some of the girls would be like, ‘Oh my gosh, hey, come eat with us,’ and were all just really, really inclusive,” Milton said.
The team as a whole is internally motivated and holds a unique definition of what makes a successful season. As an example, instead of setting a concrete goal like winning the SCAC championship, Hill believes a successful season is defined by whether the team reaches its full potential.
“Our goals are always to learn each other and get better every day. Never will there be a scenario where we come out and say ‘If we don’t [do] this then we haven’t been successful,’ or ‘If we do do this, then we have been successful.’ To me, success lives in the day,” Hill said. “Do your best for your team every single day. If you can actually do that, those building blocks have no other alternative than to stack on top of each other and you end up getting where you belong to be. That’s what I think we do here. That’s what’s been successful so far.”
Although the team holds no concrete goal for success, senior forward Abigail Holland states that winning the SCAC Championship this season would be a major accomplishment for the team.
“It would be awesome [to win the SCAC Championship]. I would love for that to happen. It would be huge for our team, it would be huge for our program, and [although] we don’t vocalize ‘Hey, we want this to happen and this is the only thing that leads to a successful season,’ I think we all have things in the back of our mind,” Holland said.
According to Hill, the road to the championship is one of fierce competition with many good teams.
“Our schedule is [filled with] really tough [competitors]. Our first two games were against top tier opponents. Hardin-Simmons is coming in as a ranked opponent as well. [The University of Texas at Dallas] will be ranked. The conference is always fun. [Texas Lutheran University] is always a fun game. Austin College is a fun game … Really, any time you’re in the mood to see some good basketball, it’s definitely worth it to come down and watch us play,” Hill said.
However, fierce competition is not necessarily a bad thing. According to Holland, there are two perspectives to take on playing good teams.
“I think we’re going to play really good opponents, and you can either look at that as a challenge or an opportunity. I think our team does a really good job of looking at tough opponents as an opportunity to say ‘Hey, this is where we are.’ I’m always really excited to play good competition. It not only challenges you to rise to the occasion, but it also is a benchmark to see where you stack up,” Holland said.
The Tigers will look to continue their hot start this Saturday at 1 p.m. when they go on the road to face East Texas Baptist University.