The Women’s Basketball team is focused on a successful season
By Christina Easter
After his first season as a college basketball coach, Omar Williams is ready to lead the Triceratops Women’s Basketball Team to a successful 2023-2024 season. Returning players also learned a lot and have been a big inspiration to the new players. Although the team did not perform up to their expectations after a season of a lot of firsts, the team now has a script to go off of.
“It was a learning, growing, and sometimes emotional season,” Williams said. “It was needed and it created a hunger for us and our summer was better. We learned a lot, it helped our girls mature a lot, and you can tell how more focused they are.”
Returning player, Briana Bunkley led the Women Triceratops to its victory of the new season with a 76-71 victory over Henry Ford College on November 1. Bunkley scored 27 points and grabbed 14 rebounds as Dariah Kirksey dished out 5 helpers.
Williams attributes the team’s early success to second year player Marybella Dunlap maturing into a leadership role.
“Mary got in the gym the Monday after the last game of last season and never left,” Williams said. “She took it upon herself to do something about how last season went. She also called the other girls and they got in the gym with her. We didn’t have that last season.”
This season rather than letting players find their way and trying to match the opposing team’s line-up, Williams will make teams adjust to the Triceratops. He also plans to have a solid plan in place for each game and is confident that players will execute it.
Dariah Kirksey, Tori Smith, and Asia McAuliffe are returning players and will be looked to for the Team’s success. “Dariah is an amazing on-ball defender and is learning how to run an offense because being a point guard is not easy,” Williams said.
“Asia is very quiet and doesn’t talk much when she’s on the court but you know she’s out there because she is a very good defender.”
Smith averaged 20 points and 12 rebounds in the second half of last season and was player of the week a couple of times. “She is very versatile, can play the wing, and is a very good player,” Williams said. “She should average 20 – 25 points a game.”
The coaching staff is also looking to other players to make significant contributions as well. Zarina Fader is a freshman who can shoot lights out and the coaching staff will continue to work with making her a better defender. Amari Hamcock is strong, athletic, and is expected to have a really good season.
Another adjustment Williams has made for this season is to let assistant coaches, Jasmine Frierson, Dion Griffin, and Valencia Griffin do more. “This was a big thing for me coming from high school coaching where a lot of the time the head coach has to do everything,” Williams said. “But the assistant coaches got on me about this and I am glad they did.
Our practices are better, preparation is better, and we’re on schedule with everything we want to cover.”
Williams also says there are a couple of players on the team who can put up the numbers that Bunkley did in game one. “But no matter how much talent you think you have, you have to go through the process,” he said. “I thought we could skip this but it opened my eyes and it has made me a better coach and leader. And the team will be a lot better for it.”
The Women’s Basketball Team season began on November 1 and ends on March 2. Most of the games are played at the Eastern campus. Review the schedule and pick the games you will attend to support our Triceratops.