Weatherspoon Pleased With Early Season Workouts
Oct. 4, 2012
RUSTON - With its regular season opener against Tulane just over a month away, Louisiana Tech head coach Teresa Weatherspoon and her Lady Techster basketball team has been busy preparing for the season for the past few weeks.
With the change to the NCAA rule two years ago which now allows women's teams to begin practicing much sooner, Weatherspoon said it has benefited her young squad which includes seven newcomers and only one senior.
"We love the new rule," Weatherspoon said. "It gives us an opportunity to advance the kids more. It's a great rule. We can have hands on and teach. It gives them an idea of what our philosophies are. With seven new people, it's good to have the extra time to work with them and jell with the returners but most importantly to understand what we are asking as a staff."
After missing the NCAA Tournament last year after posting a 17-15 record and falling in the finals of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament, Weatherspoon and Co. must replace four starters and six letter winners.
This year's team slogan is One Goal, One Vision, One Mission and Weatherspoon said that ultimately it boils down to team chemistry if LA Tech is to earn a spot in the program's 28th NCAA Tournament which will ultimately culminate with the Final Four in New Orleans.
"We are trying to get everyone on the same page," Weatherspoon said. "We speak of one goal, one vision, one mission ... getting everyone together and playing as one unit. It's all about team."
Through the first few weeks of workouts, this year's roster has shown a great work ethic on the practice floor, something that isn't lost on their head coach.
"The energy and effort (is what has most pleased me so far)," Weatherspoon said. "We don't have to coach effort. They give it every day willing to learn and sacrifice and pay the price. We have kids willing to do those things, and it's exciting for our staff. It's been amazing how they listen and do what we ask of them. They are coachable young ladies."
With the graduation of three-year starting point guard Jasmine Bendolph, Weatherspoon - a point guard in her own days - is going to rely on the combination of sophomore Courtney Hayes and junior college transfer Janay Borum.
"One thing I've told Courtney and Janay is I'm probably harder on them than anyone else because they are leaders and an extension of me," Weatherspoon said. "We have two great leaders to conduct the show. We want to be able to push the ball under control and execute offensively. They are starting to learn how to do that with great confidence."
Hayes saw action in 31 games and made seven starts during her rookie season in Ruston, averaging 1.9 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game. She showed signs of what could be but Weatherspoon will need more consistency out of the Las Vegas native this year.
"I think the thing about Courtney is the first year experience was great for her," Weatherspoon said. "She understands what it takes to play (at this level). Her shoulders must be broad. She is going to compete and bring the energy all the time. The thing she has learned most is she must always been in control. She is learning how to do that and conduct her team."
Borum comes to Tech after two years on the junior college level, including one season at Palm Beach State College and one at the College of Central Florida. This past season she averaged 9.3 points, 5.0 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 2.8 steals per game while earning first team all-Mid Florida Conference honors.
"She is amazing with her speed and quickness," Weatherspoon said. "She wants to play defense from one end of the floor to the other. She is very disruptive. She makes it difficult (for opponents) to run their offense. She is amazing at finding people. However, she needs to understand speed and change of pace. If she gets that down, it will be impressive what she is able to accomplish on the floor."
Tech will host Mississippi College in its only exhibition game on Sunday, Nov. 4 at 2 p.m. before opening the season on the road against Tulane on Nov. 9.
Season tickets for both the Lady Techsters and Bulldogs are on sale and can be purchased by calling the Tech Ticket Office at 318-257-3631, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or logging onto www.latechsports.com.
For all the latest information on the lady Techsters, fans can follow them on Twitter at @latechwbb and @latechmbutler.