By Joseph Frattaroli
As the Youngstown State University’s women’s basketball season begins Nov. 9, the team’s spirits seem high. Freshman Lexi Wagner said the team has high expectations and wants to be competitive throughout the year.
“We have high expectations this year. We want to win the Horizon [League], obviously,” Wagner said. “[We want to] be really competitive and get as far as we can in the tournament.”
Wagner said she and the team members look toward themselves when it comes to foreseen roadblocks and improving their play. She is also happy with the intensity of practices and preparedness of the team for this season.
“We’re more concerned about ourselves and trying to play the best we can everyday and trying to get better,” Wagner said. “Training has been going really well. I feel like practices have been very intense and very competitive, which makes it a lot of fun and a great environment to play in.”
As for strategy, senior center Lilly Ritz hopes to get many offensive rebounds to support the team as well as being advantageous in her positioning.
“My main thing is getting the offensive rebound and putting it back up — it’s probably my favorite thing to do,” she said. “Then, just getting the defensive stops, steals, getting open and making good post moves as a team.”
Ritz spoke about the chemistry of the team and how it will help throughout the season and contribute to more cohesive gameplay.
“Team bonding here is a lot better than anywhere I’ve ever been — we’re all best friends,” Ritz said. “I can go to any of them if I need to, and we hang out every weekend. There’s so much chemistry here I think it’ll carry well onto the court.”
Ritz said a specific competitor the team has to look out for is IUPUI. Youngstown State lost to IUPUI twice last season. She said a specific player on IUPUI has her attention, as the player has won the Horizon League Women’s Basketball Player of the Year three times in a row.
“I have heard IUP is pretty good. I have heard they have a pretty good post player. Personally, she is just a big competitor,” Ritz said. “She’s one I’m looking out for, as a team [the challenge is] taking her and that team down, and hopefully winning.”
Youngstown State’s season will kick off Nov. 9 with its first match against Eastern Michigan University.