The menâ€™s and womenâ€™s basketball teams look to capture the conference title this upcoming February by challenging themselves throughout the regular season with highly-ranked opponents and road tournaments.
The men have five matchups this season against teams ranked in the USA Today Coaches preseason top 25.They will face No. 15 Emory (Ga.), No. 9 Washington (Mo.), No. 17 Whitworth (Wa.), No. 18 Wheaton (Il.) and No. 22 University of Texas-Dallas before they open conference play.
SCAC play begins on Friday, Jan. 9, in Irving, Texas against the University of Dallas.
â€œThey are going to be difficult games for sure, because at the beginning of the year you are nowhere near where you are going to be towards the end,â€ said sophomore guard Joseph Thomas. â€œWe may not look the best in those games, but I definitely think they will prepare us for the end of the year and conference play.â€
The men open their season tomorrow, Nov. 15, with an away non-conference matchup at Hardin-Simmons University.
They return to San Antonio Nov. 17 to face the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in their first home game.
â€œI think the talent level and the work ethic and those kinds of things are there,â€ said menâ€™s head coach Pat Cunningham. â€œThe seniors are going to have to embrace bigger roles and be able to perform. Secondly is how quickly [the sophomores] adapt to not having played much for a year and now all of a sudden being put into a game experience.â€
The women will try to reclaim the conference title from two years ago after their close loss to the Texas Lutheran University Bulldogs in the championship match last season.
â€œI just think with our team dynamic, in my mind, I almost see no way we could lose really. That is how confident I am in this team,â€ said sophomore forward Allison Staley.
In team sports, like basketball, chemistry on and off the court can be important for performance.
â€œThe chemistry is monumentally better than it has been in seasons past. That is a credit to the players and the attitude that they have brought to the season this year,â€ said womenâ€™s head coach Cameron Hill. â€œThese girls really care about each other. They support each other, Â [in] in any team sport if you have that you have everything.â€
They open the season tomorrow, Nov. 15, against George Fox University at the George Fox Classic in Newberg, Oregon.
â€œI love travelingâ€”I think it is such a team experience,â€ Staley said. â€œYou work all week. You practice everyday and the game is the rewarding part of your practicing.â€
The first home game for the women is Dec. 19, when they host North Park (Ill.).
Womenâ€™s conference play begins Friday, Jan. 9, as they travel to take on Austin College in Sherman, Texas.
â€œEvery time we step on the floor I think it is an opportunity for us to get better and to demonstrate where we areâ€”to reinforce everything that we are working to achieve this year,â€ Hill said.