Jens basketball rebuilding

Written by Muleskinner Staff

Forward Nicole Caddell is one of two seniors on this season’s Jennies basketball team. (Photo by ANDREW MATHER, Photo Editor)

Story by Natasha Dickey, for The Muleskinner—

 As basketball season at UCM approaches, head Jennies coach Dave Slifer hopes to lead the Jens to a conference championship and an Elite 8 appearance.

There is some rebuilding to do, though. There are only four returning players, four redshirt players and six newcomers.
Right now, the Jens are working on conditioning, but are also figuring out an identity for the team.
“We’ve got a lot of learning to do,” Slifer said. “We need to decide what style of play will be most successful.”
Slifer already notices differences in the team this year from last year. He said the team is quicker than they have been since he has been coaching at UCM. He also believes the roster will be deep.
“The team is more athletic,” senior forward Nicole Caddell said. “We have more guard play and a quicker defense. We also have the ability to win.”
Caddell said she wants to make the All-American Defensive Team.
Being a senior leader for the team, Caddell believes her teammates look up to her.
“If I don’t work hard on the court, they might feel like they won’t have to either,” Caddell said.
Newcomer Mollie Williams, a freshman guard from Lee’s Summit North High School, says she is learning to adjust to college basketball.
“The first week of official practice I was hesitant, and taken back by the intensity of everyone on the team and the coaches,” Williams said. “Going from high school basketball to this was a big change, but I am starting to get the hang of it. The team is really encouraging, and the coaches are too, so that makes a huge difference and making the adjustment easier.”
Williams’ goals for the season are to get to know her teammates more, and to just enjoy the season.
“Things can get hectic with games, traveling, and school, so just remembering how cool of an experience this is, I think will be important,” Williams said.
Williams said the hardest part of the season will be maintaining high confidence.
“For me, I think the toughest challenge of the season will be to keep my confidence as a player throughout the season,” Williams said. “I get intimidated by older girls easily, so just not letting that get to my head will be something I really need to focus on this season.”
Slifer said he wants the players to learn other fundamentals other than basketball. He wants them to learn how to get along with each other and how to be successful in society, as well as respecting themselves and their families.
Slifer said he believes that every great sports team is faced with challenges.
“We want to hide our weaknesses and insinuate our strengths,” he said.
Going into the 2012-2013 basketball season, Slifer has made a promise to UCM and Jens’ fans.
“We are going to play hard with an increased tempo,” Slifer said. “We are going to defensively pressure other teams so they are not able to be in their comfort zone.”
The Jens open the season with a home game against Webster University on Nov.10 at 1:30 p.m.