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ENMU women's basketball team has high aspirations after banner 16-17

 

November 9, 2017



PORTALES — The 2016-17 Eastern New Mexico women’s basketball team made school history, and fifth-year head coach Josh Prock anticipates even more history can be made by his ballclub in 2017-18.

The Greyhounds made their first NCAA Tournament appearance last year, and return 10 letterwinners this season.

“Last year was a tremendous accomplishment for our team and our program. I’m proud of all the kids, but last year wasn’t just these kids — it’s also many kids that have played here before with me, and laid the groundwork and gone through the tough years,” Prock said. “It’s just a credit to everybody at this program to be where we are. I’m excited for what we could accomplish this year.”

There’s certainly reason for optimism coming off of last year’s 20-win season. Leading the way is a pair of seniors — Mikaehla Connor and Daeshi McCants, who garnered Lone Star Conference accolades a season ago.

Connor, a 5-foot-9 wing player, earned First Team All-LSC and All-Defensive Team honors, thanks to her 11.2 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. McCants, meanwhile, is 6-1 post player and a former UTEP transfer, who averaged 9.3 points and grabbed 6.4 rebounds per game in ‘16-17, while garnering Third Team All-LSC honors.

“Daeshi is a very versatile player — she can play inside out, and she’s a tough matchup, because she can do both,” Prock explained. “She’s a bigger kid, she’s very strong, she rebounds extremely well.

“Kay Kay (Connor) is one of those kids that you love to coach. She’s a do-it-all player, there’s really nothing that she can’t do. She always accepts the roles that you tell her — it’s fun to have kids like that who are always willing to do whatever the coach asks. Those two have a chance to have a special year for sure.”

Three other seniors and a pair of juniors will also be present for the Hounds this season. As for newcomers, freshmen Kaylee Edgemon and Alivia Lewis each have an opportunity to contribute in 2017-18, and according to Prock, he anticipates that the two of them could be Eastern’s breakout players this year, as the veterans are all established commodities.

The Hounds, who disappointingly lost in the first round of the LSC Tournament last year, will look to rebound and win a conference title in ‘18. However, the road won’t be easy, as the LSC is a “Murderer’s Row” of sorts this season.

“As far as the Lone Star, I just call it a beast of a conference,” Prock said, laughing. “It’s tough every year. Really, you don’t have a night off — everybody’s tough, everybody can play. So, you have to be ready every night. We’re gonna need to have our ‘A’ game every night to beat these teams.”

Luckily for Eastern (0-2), Prock purposely set up the schedule to be tough throughout, as Eastern will soon embark on a pair of tournaments — including the Fort Lewis and Pak-A-Sak Tournaments, where they’ll face the likes of 22nd-ranked Fort Lewis and No. 4 Colorado Sate-Pueblo.

This comes on the heels of already facing two major Division I programs to open up the season, when the Hounds lost to Arizona, 69-50, on Oct. 30, followed by New Mexico, 80-66, on Nov. 1.

Despite the challenges that lie ahead, Prock is confident in his team, and in the process, finds few flaws with their games. “Our experience is a definite strength of this team. We have a tremendous group of young ladies coming back,” Prock said.

“Our athleticism — we’re a very athletic team, we have an extremely tough team and that’s what you want, right? I think we’re balanced, I think we got a few kids that can really shoot it from the perimeter, we got some kids that can score outside, and we got some kids that can take it off the dribble. There’s really nothing that we don’t have. We’ve got a good mix of everything, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what we can do.”

 

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