Wright State women’s basketball coach Mike Bradbury has a starting lineup and rotation in mind for Friday’s 7 p.m. season opener at Southern Illinois in Carbondale, Ill. He also knows his plans could change.
The emphasis on calling hand-check fouls and the changes to the charge/block call will turn some early-season games into ordeals, to say the least.
“It’s tough,” Bradbury said. “I’m not complaining. I like the rule changes. Some people don’t. It’s just going to take some getting used to. We played a two-hour, 10-minute exhibition game and a two-hour, 20-minute scrimmage.”
There were 51 fouls called in the Raiders’ 81-57 exhibition victory over Indiana Wesleyan on Oct. 30. The Raiders made 13-of-22 free throws. Nine of the 11 Raiders who played had at least two fouls, but none of them fouled out.
The foul calls are the big issue in college basketball right now. Only time will tell if the players adjust or the officials relent.
“I don’t what you can do about it,” Bradbury said. “They’re not going to learn just because you tell them. You have to go do it.”
Bradbury plans to start the same lineup Friday as he did in the exhibition game: guards Kim Demmings, Ivory James and Tay’ler Mingo and forwards Tayler Stanton and Courtney Boyd. Forward Breanna Stucke and guards Sarah Hunter and KC Elkins will round out the rotation.
“We may have to go deeper,” Bradbury said. “It’ll be because of foul trouble or something, which is probably going to happen.”
The Raiders have avoided the injury bug that hit them at the start of last season. That’s important because they’ve four games in the first 10 days of the season. A good start is important, Bradbury said, especially for a team coming off a 12-19 season.
“We struggled a little bit last year,” he said. “It’ll be key for our confidence to start strong and play well early.”
Demmings has gotten much of the attention in the preseason, deservedly. She’s the preseason pick for Horizon League Player of the Year for the second straight year.
As for players who might surprise the Wright State fans, Bradbury went went two players who didn’t play last year: Boyd and Mingo. Boyd missed the season with a knee injury. Mingo had to sit out after transferring from Florida State.
“Courtney Boyd’s back, and she’s healthy,” Bradbury said. “That makes a difference. We expect big things out of her. She was a double-figure scorer for two years before she got hurt. Tay’ler Mingo sat out last year. She’s healthy and ready to play. We’ve got some new pieces we didn’t have last year.”
Raiders at a glance
Coach: Mike Bradbury (fourth season, 75-55)
Last year’s record: 12-18
Preseason poll: Picked to finish second in Horizon League
Returning starters: Kim Demmings, 5-8, Jr., G, 19.6 points per game; KC Elkins, 5-6, Sr., G, 10.6; Breanna Stucke, 6-0, Jr., F, 8.9; Tayler Stanton, 6-0, Jr., F, 5.5
Key games: vs. Memphis, Nov. 15; vs. Akron, Nov. 17; at Louisville, Dec. 7; vs. Xavier, Dec. 15; at Dayton, Jan. 2; at Green Bay, Jan. 25; vs. Green Bay, Feb. 27.