Newness is the theme for the Sheridan College Women's Basketball team as they enter the 2017-18 basketball season. Many faces have changed, both on the side of the players and the coaches. Of the nine freshman eligible to return from the 2016-17 team, six remain, and one returner, Lauren Hallcroft, did not play last year due to transferring in at semester and redshirting. Returners Brooke Cargal (Gillette, WY), Raelynn Keefer (Forsytth, MT), Tyra Limpy (Colstrip, MT), Lauren Hallcroft (Gillette, WY), Sara Storeshaw (Mackay, Australia), and Ashleigh Frampton (Bundaberg, Australia) are back this year along with incoming transfer Carmen Ramey who attended Iowa Western Community College last year. What they bring to the Generals is a desire to get better and win, as they have their eyes on a specific achievement, winning Region IX.
It has been eight years since the last Sheridan College Women's Basketball team earned the title of Region IX champs, but from point guard Sarah Storeshaw's perspective this could be the breakthrough season, "It's a different culture this year. The team is all on the same page with our ultimate goal, to win Region IX. We are all willing to work hard to achieve that." In order to take the region, the team will have to win the Region IX tournament. Luckily for the Generals, it will be held at the home court of whichever team wins the North Sub-Region. Sheridan could hold a big advantage by hosting the tournament and playing in the comfort and familiarity of home. Getting past a few hurdles along the way, as is the case for any team, will be key. The first of those hurdles will be adapting to the new aspects of the change in coaching staff along with newcomers.
Leaving the program after more than a decade at the helm is Frank McCarthy, and coming in to take over as the Head Coach Ryan Davis and his Assistant Coach Taylor Cummings. Davis hit the recruiting trail from day one and has brought in eight new players to add to the six returners. Sophomore Tyra Limpy believes that the change can be looked at in a positive way, "I think with the new girls and new coaches, there is definitely a different energy than last year. I have a great feeling about how this year will play out."
One word that constantly rings through all fourteen players ears on a daily basis is toughness. The word comes from two sources, Ryan Davis and Taylor Cummings. From the beginning of workouts on September 4th the idea of being a tough team has been repeated time and again by the coaching staff. Davis explains the reasoning behind the message, "The more I watch this region the more I believe that if you have toughness throughout your team you can win." But the message is not just about basketball, it is a way of living that Davis believes breeds success in any avenue of life. "Taking on responsibilities is tough. It is really easy to just not do the hard stuff or procrastinate. I believe that has a trickledown effect and manifests itself on the court. If Coach Cummings and I can get our team to be tough enough to do what we need to do to play at a high level, they should see that discipline spill over to their lives outside of basketball and that's what this is all about".
As for now, the team will take things one day at a time and, beginning October 1st, try and create the culture that can help bring them the success they have their minds set on. The building blocks are in place, it is about time to put the plan to action. "We've been able to build a strong team culture already and are all working towards the same goal, being the toughest team in Region IX", says returner Ashleigh Frampton. As for sophomore Raelynn Keefer the outlook is pretty simple and optimistic, "With a good group of hardworking freshman and gung-ho coaches, we have high expectations". With less than a week until the first official practice it's almost time to see what the new era of Sheridan College Women's Basketball is all about.