Jasmine Casimir // Asst. Sports Director
After ending their championship runs in the second round of the Conference USA Championships last year, the women and men’s basketball teams have a renewed focus for the 2016-2017 season.
Both teams held their annual media day Thursday, Oct. 27 at the U.S. Century Bank Arena.
The head coach of the women’s team, Tiara Malcolm, was joined by sophomore guard Kristian Hudson, senior guard/forward Janka Hegedus and senior guard Nikolina Todorovic.
Last season, the women’s team finished with a 5-26 overall record, as their season ended against Marshall University. Malcolm said she is looking for consistency in her team this season with nine returning players and four newcomers.
“We’ve had some practices where we’ve been all in with what we’ve been trying to do with our focus, but then we have some where we kind of tail off a little bit,” said Malcolm. “As we become more consistent, we will start to see some success.”
Hegedus and Todorovic are two of the four seniors returning for the upcoming season, and plan to play the leadership role on the team.
“As a senior now, I’m ready now more than ever to take a leadership role and help my teammates win,” said Todorovic.
Hegedus, the 6-foot guard who led the Panthers with 19 blocks last season, plans to utilize her height in the paint in the upcoming season to box out their opponents.
Hudson, who is returning for her second season, finished 13th in C-USA for assist-to-turnover ratio (0.9). The Alabama native says she wants to improve her game, and has a personal goal set for herself to diminish the turnovers.
“I made a lot of freshman mistakes just trying to be too fancy,” said Hudson. “I think I’ll take care of the ball better, and definitely not going to turn the ball over like I did last year.”
The men’s team was represented by Head Coach Anthony Evans and senior guards Jason Boswell and Donte McGill.
The men’s team finished their season with a 13-19 overall record, ending their season in the second round of the C-USA tournament after losing to University of Texas at El Paso.
Evans is returning as head coach for his fourth season, and in his opening statement, said he is excited for the start of the season with eight returning players and six newcomers.
“We’re going to play controlled team basketball this season,” said Evans. “We’re going to get the ball up the court as quickly as possible and take a good shot.”
Boswell, who is the only player who started in all 32 games last season, is returning for his fourth season and said the experience thus far at the University has been great. He also believes it has helped him mature as a person on and off the court.
McGill, returning for his second season with the Panthers, was the leading scorer during the 2015-2016 season, and finished eighth in the league in points-per-game.