It has been a busy offseason for all ACU sports programs with the transition to Div. I, but none more so than the women’s basketball team. Head coach Julie Goodenough and her staff navigated a roster overhaul that is worthy of an “Extreme Make-over” episode.
She is returning only three players and adding nine new freshmen. Of those twelve Wildcats only one is an upper classman. Youth like that is virtually unheard of at the collegiate level, especially in Div. I.
However, coach Goodenough feels that the freshman class is prepared to handle the burden they will be forced to carry.
“They are extremely talented and they will help us compete at the Div. I level pretty quickly,” she said.
The lone senior on the roster, Renata Marquez, knows mistakes are inevitable for the freshmen.
“I will be making mistakes right there with them, but it is how we bounce back that will determine what kind of team we will be,” Marquez said.
Coach Goodenough knew just what kind of team she wanted when she recruited the newcomers by bringing size and athleticism. Erin Maxwell and Sydney Shelstead will make quite the duo down low with heights of 6-4 and 6-3 respectively.
Another duo that will be new to the Wildcats this year is the Dimba twins. Lizzy and Suzzy Dimba are from Lubbock where they were Co-players of the Year at Coronado High School. The twins make look the same, but Goodenough assures they are different on the court.
“They play different positions, but both are athletic and can run the floor,” Goodenough said.
More information is available on the freshman class and the rest of the team online thanks to the blog posts they wrote about themselves this summer on acusports.com.
Goodenough brought the idea of blogging from a previous school and feels it is important to keep fans up to date in between the last game of one season and the first game of the next. The girls covered everything from their summer workouts to their summer tanning.
Another way the Wildcats connect themselves to the community is through their summer basketball camps. The players become coaches as young fans can become players for a few days of basketball tutorials. Goodenough sees this as a great way to recruit fans and to allow her girls to be “ambassadors” to the program and the school.
The ‘Cats on this team will be more than ambassadors to the city of Abilene, but also to the Southland Conference and to Div. I. This season will be a historic one before the team ever plays a game. With nine new freshmen there is sure to be plenty of adversity as well as growth.
The majority of this team may have been built in the summer, but for an “Extreme Make-over” that is more than enough time for a terrific finished product.