The Saint Augustine’s University women’s basketball team saw a seven-game improvement in last year’s season under head coach Ebony Tanner. This season, they look to not only improve on that but to win the title.
The Lady Falcons are led by Lauren Banks, who has been chosen as a preseason all-CIAA First team. Her scoring led to wins last season and the team expects to rely on her to get them to the end this season.
Defense is a strength of the Lady Falcons. The last two seasons they ranked among the Top 25 teans in Division II in forcing turnovers.
“The key to us winning is relying on us playing tremendous defense and forcing a lot of turnovers,” Coach Tanner said. “In order for us to win we have to make our defense create offense if we play better on the the defensive side, we can steal the ball and score quicker.”
The coach believes she has some of the best post players in CIAA but she stated that, to improve her team, she brought in more guards to get better guard play around her bigs. “That’s where we lost most of our games because our best point guard last year went down and it seemed like no one wanted to handle the ball, so I had to go out and get more guards who are more willing to handle the ball,” she said.
Like the men, the Lady Falcons were picked last in the conference preseason rankings and Coach Tanner said her women are taking it personally because although their record was 8-17 last year they were losing games by only one to two points. And she believes they are way better this year than they were in previous years, and she doesn’t believe that anyone should doubt them.
“You put us at [rank] 13, we’re going to make you pay,” she said. “We’re a better team and we’re gonna finish further in the playoffs than we did last year. That I can guarantee.”
The Lady Falcons’ next home game is Nov. 18 against Belmont Abbey College. Conference play starts Dec. 11 in an away game against Bluefield State University.
— Brenton Chapple