Nov. 3, 2014
After being picked to win the conference in the preseason last year, the women’s basketball team fell short of that prediction in the tough RMAC, losing to Colorado Mesa in the first round of the RMAC Shootout.
This year the Mountain Lions are ranked third in the RMAC preseason poll and have a different look with their new head coach Shawn Nelson.
“I don’t look into rankings that much,” said Nelson. “I’ve coached teams my first year at Carroll where we were picked seventh out of eight and we won the league and went to the national tournament. It’s good that people think you have a lot of talent but at the same time it doesn’t mean anything.”
The team had to adjust to the new style that Nelson has brought.
“At first I was nervous,” said junior guard Gabby Ramirez. “He has his own perspective on basketball but so far I love everything about him. He’s really into winning and so are we.”
Prior to taking the job at UCCS, Nelson scouted the team and did his homework to see which players play best at certain positions. When talking about clutch performance, senior guard Abby Kirchoff came to mind.
Kirchoff was picked as the Preseason Player of the Year for the second year in a row.
“Everybody knows she is a great player,” said Nelson. “I think she is a calming presence out there. You know you have a go-to player out there to get you 15-20 a night. With what we do, she can play all of the guard spots.”
Kirchoff feels that preseason rankings and accolades don’t mean anything in the end.
“It’s awesome, it’s a crazy honor,” said Kirchoff. “Last season showed anything can happen in the RMAC. I would like to get Player of the Year. It’s honestly a team honor because you can be an amazing player, but if your team isn’t there then nothing can happen. Our team is confident this year.”
The team takes on Lubbock Christian in Golden, Colo. on Nov. 14 to start the season. The Mountain Lions are first at home on Nov. 28 against Montana Tech as part of the UCCS Basketball Thanksgiving Tournament. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m.