The women’s basketball team will host three teams in the Bill George Arena this weekend.
The Golden Eagles will play in the John Brown Classic, which will take place this Friday and Saturday. The team is happy to play at the University again and looks to make the arena their home.
“It’s a good point for us to start getting comfortable at home and start playing some good games,” guard, Courtney Fine, said about the Classic.
This Golden Eagles team is a young one—eight of the 11 members of the active roster are freshmen or sophomores. However, their youth doesn’t seem to phase them.
“Even though we’re young, we’re really athletic and can push the ball up and down the floor a little bit more than we have in the past,” Brooke Barker, forward and one of only two seniors on the active roster, said. “We score in transition a lot, so I’m excited for our potential as a team.”
The young team will compete against College of the Ozarks and Philander Smith College during the Classic. Oklahoma City University will also play at the Classic this weekend, but won’t compete against the Golden Eagles.
Fine said that she and her teammates are off to a great start and are ready to get going.
“I think we have a lot of room to grow,” Fine said. “We’ll be pretty good once we get it all rolling.”
The Golden Eagles have an opportunity to continue this progress this weekend in their two games. Barker pointed out that the younger players could definitely help their chances at success.
“Just getting them calm and not getting them stressed out at the beginning of the game [is important],” she said.
While members of the current team have faced College of the Ozarks in the past, none of them have faced Philander Smith University.
Regardless of how either team plays, the Golden Eagles are planning on winning both games by, as Barker said, “Just making sure we run our offense well.”
“We just want to focus, run our stuff and be efficient,” she said. “Also, limiting turnovers…we need to make sure that we talk a lot and communicate.”
While they are playing Philander Smith for the first time, the Golden Eagles are experienced in playing against College of the Ozarks. Though they are a NAIA Division II school, one level down from the University, Barker described College of the Ozarks as a scrappy team that will make them rely on defense. The team is prepared to do what it takes defensively to shut them down.
“We usually play man-on-man defense,” guard, Kodee Powell, said. “Sometimes we play zone. It usually just depends on if College of the Ozarks is big or fast.”
“Blocking out is going to be a big thing, along with guarding their shooters,” Barker said.
The Golden Eagles are ultimately excited and confident to take on these teams this weekend.
“I expect for us to play hard,” Powell said. “I hope there’s a lot of fans that come out and watch us give it our all. I’m expecting two wins to come out of it.”