As the air begins to chill in late October, it is time for the Troy women’s basketball team to begin its season with a warm up game at home.
The Trojans will play West Florida in an exhibition game on Monday, Oct. 28, at 7 p.m. in Trojan Arena.
Troy head coach Chanda Rigby is entering her second season with the Trojans, and she is looking to improve past last season’s dismal 7-24 record.
For Rigby, it is a process on the road to conference relevancy.
“We have higher expectations this year,” Rigby said. “We did a lot of great things last year but didn’t win as many games as we wanted to but I still think we got the train stopped going the wrong direction.”
The name of the game is still speed under Rigby, but the second year coach has added some dead ball plays to help balance out her squad that is coached to run the other team ragged with its fast pace.
“Think that we are just more conditioned,” Rigby said. “And our mindset is in those little moments of the game that people are used to slow down and catch their breath, we are pushing it down people’s throats.”
One of the Trojans to watch out for this year is senior Joanna Harden, who was an offensive force for Troy last season with a team leading 475 points and 995 total minutes.
“She was fantastic last year and this is her senior year,” Rigby said of Harden. “She is on a mission to do even better so she definitely a go-to scorer for us.”
Another game changer with the ball in her hands is sophomore Ashley Beverly-Kelley, who was second on the team with 376 total points while leading the Trojans with 60 steals as a freshman.
“Ashley Beverly-Kelley was a freshman for us last year and is a sophomore,” Rigby said. “A world of difference in I think how she has grown up in experience and how much time she has put in the gym in the offseason. She kind of has some ownership in this team now.”
Troy’s 2013-14 schedule is a tough one for any women’s basketball program in the country with games against Florida at home on Dec. 4, Alabama on the road Dec. 20 and the Trojans’ game of the year on Dec. 14, against the Tennessee Lady Vols.
“We travel to the University of Tennessee, of course we know that is one of the top programs in the nation and has been for years and years,” Rigby said. “December really takes it to a completely different level for us.”
The Troy coach has this hard schedule all planned out.
“The way I planned it was to battle and gain some confidence in November and December you are going to have to adjust your game to another level and, hopefully, if you’d made those adjustments and stayed healthy throughout December you are going to be able to win Sun Belt conference games after Christmas.”