It’s 5:45 in the morning in Ashland on a Wednesday morning; the wind is warming and breezy with the temperatures in the 40s.
As most college students won’t emerge from their beds to start the day for several more hours; the Southern Oregon University Women’s Basketball squad are currently strecthing out for their day at work; preparing for Concordia and Warner Pacific this weekend.
“I’ve been doing it since I’ve been a coach here,” said head coach Lynn Kennedy, “it’s more academic, that way we can get the classes, they don’t have to worry about labs in the afternoon…there’s also Men’s Basketball, Volleyball battling for gym time, so no one takes the morning and it helps get’s the classes we need.”
It’s hard for the first week in September, Kennedy was talking about, getting the team motivating for conditioning and, even into the season, getting the players to eat something heading into practice.
With coach thinking ahead for his players on the day, players felt tired at first at the idea.
“You get used to it after a while,” said senior forward Krysten Copeland, “it sucks at first, but you get used to it. You have to get to practices to get to games.”
“It’s very hard at the beginning of the season,” said freshman forward Carly Mister, “I mean I’m used to it now, you just have to get up and get it done. It’s nice to get it done to get it over with.”
Coach Kennedy calls the team in. Tell’s the team that Copeland would be out that week with an concussion and Alexi Smith will be starting in her spot; mention’s about how big the games are this weekend.
“This is our playoffs,” said Kennedy to the team, “if we lose on Friday, we can expect to play through the Conference Tourny this year.”
Time for work.
Fast break with an emphasis on defense, trying to prepare to Concordia’s Chelsey Christenson; one of the best players in the Cascade Collegiate Conference.
“We need to pressure her,” said Kennedy coaching up the team, “she got us last time from the post.”
After ten minutes of fast break, it’s right into ten minutes of red on black scrimaging.
“[It's] a lot more running here that’s for sure,” Copeland laughed, “I played at a JC, there was a lot of sprints [there] but it’s a lot more here. But it’s good because the gameplan is fast paced, fast tempo game, having to be in-shape to sprint up and down in games.”
“It’s faster,” Meister said with a smile, “the first practice I died because it’s hard, but you kinda get used to it.”
The black team represents what SOU runs where the red team represents what Warner Pacific and Concordia run. Both sides will get repitions on offense and defense.
Kennedy coaches up the team on communicating on the court as the play evolves and requires any nesscary on-court adjustments.
“They [Concordia] run a 1-2-2,” started Kennedy, “if we go 2-3, we will get steals. They’re trying to set up their offenses in 15 seconds.”
Here’s how the weekly schedule runs for the Raiders.
Day after the games, Sunday, is set for lifting. Monday is set for conditioning and cardio, start reviewing film on that week’s opponents. Tuesday is a day off.
Wednesday and Thursday are gameplan days; they start running their gameplan and take looks on how they’re opponents look on the court.
“Look at the clock, what do you want, what do you want?” asked Kennedy demanding.
“Um,” started the player, “I want two.”
The team shifts to the adjustment.
Friday and Saturday mornings, on gamedays, it’s a shoot around to warm the team up for the game heading into that night’s game.
Ten minutes of transitional period followed, followed by six minutes of shooting to work on targeting on accurate and precise shooting.
“Our practices aren’t that long,” said Kennedy, “We’re fast tempo, high intensity. We get done within an hour fifteen an hour and a half.”
Practice ends with free throws. Kennedy calls out an number for how many free throws the team needs to make to get done with practice. Today it’s three. If none falls, the team’s line up at the opposing baselines and run sprints.
Three shots went up, none fell.
“Line it up!” Kennedy calls.
Red team is on the right, black team is on the left. The whistle blows and the team starts running.
For three minutes the team runs baseline to baseline; running hard, breathing hard and cheering on.
“Let’s go!” ”Finish Strong!”
Three minutes later, the team lines up for one free throw attempt. It falls in.
The team releases a sigh of relieve and gathers together at half-court around their coach.
Kennedy finish practice with how he started.
“Remember how important these games are this weekend. It’s win or go home. We need to work better on our defense, it was terrible today. I won’t be here for practice tomorrow for recruiting but let’s finish this week strong.”