By Brian Roe, Sports Writer
Following last season’s 16-13 finish, the ACU women’s basketball team officially hit the courts this week to begin practicing for the upcoming season.
The Wildcats enter the season with head coach Shawna Lavender leading the team from behind the bench. Lavender took over for former head coach Wayne Williams at the end of last season after Williams stepped aside to take care of family heath issues. Williams resigned after the season was over.
Lavender guided the Wildcats to a 5-1 record to finish the season strong and put ACU over the .500 mark.
“I’m excited to see this team play together,” Lavender said. “Everybody is working hard and excited about the start of practice.”
Exhibition play will begin on Nov. 8 with a game against Dallas Diesel in Abilene. The regular season will begin Friday, Nov. 21, in Pomona, Calif., when ACU faces Cal Poly-Pomona.
The Wildcats will not have a home game until after the New Year. ACU play its first home game and Lone Star Conference South Division game on Saturday Jan. 3, 2004, against Cameron.
Before winning anything on the court, the Wildcats have already been honored off the court. The Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Association has been ranked No. 4 in the NCAA Division II Academic Top 25 Team Honor Roll for 2002-03.
The Wildcats, who were ranked No. 1 in the nation last year, compiled a team GPA of 3.592 during the 2002-03 season, just behind No. 1-ranked Nebraska-Kearney (3.723), and Dowling College and Ferris State, each of which had GPAs of 3.604 during the year.
Last year, eight ACU basketball players, more than any other school in the Lone Star Conference, were named to the LSC academic all-conference team.
ACU, No. 17 Southwestern Oklahoma State (3.420) and No. 23 Angelo State (3.359) were the only three Lone Star Conference schools included in the top 25.