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April 11, 2024

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Falcons look to defend their MAC title

Over the previous four seasons Curt Miller has coached the women’s basketball team, he was able to get his players to play above expectations.

This season the Falcons are picked to finish first in the MAC Eastern Conference and they know their days of sneaking up on people are over.

The Falcons are marked women with bullseyes on their backs, and they realize every team is going to want to know of the champions.

“[We have to realize] that we have a bullseye on our back and not overlook any opponent,” Miller said after practice last Wednesday. “It is a big game on everybody’s schedule.”

And he knows that in order to beat the opponent’s maximum effort his team will also have to deliver maximum effort.

“We’re going to get everyone’s ‘A’ game,” he said. “So we have to make sure we are prepared night and night out and take everything game-by-game and not want to be in March when we’re in December.”

Indeed, the only thing harder than being a champion, is being a repeat champion. There are two ways teams can react to the success of finishing on top – they can either get content and lazy and sleepwalk through the regular season and just hope to “turn on the switch” come tournament time. Or they can use the championship as fuel and motivation to propel them towards continued success.

In Miller’s eyes, he sees much more of the latter than the former.

“The championship year really energized us,” he said.

The energy was used in the summer when a majority of the team stayed in Bowling Green for at least one of the summer sessions and worked out with the strength and conditioning coach, and spent a lot of time together.

And the four freshmen coming into the program took their inaugural summers that much more seriously.

“They knew coming in that they were walking into a team that now expected to win and they needed to be ready from day one.”

One thing the coach has pounded into his players is the simple fact that last year is over and this year everyone starts with a clean slate.

“One of the things you always deal with, with the team coming off of success, is they want to pick up where the season ended and be back in March. We’re not at that point anymore.”

As the saying goes, you can’t win a championship at the beginning of the season, but you can lose one.

To fight this, he has reminded his team about what could happen if they don’t remain dedicated to the hard work necessary to get back to the top.

“They forget during the championship year all the sweat and tears that go into October and November and that has started all over again,” he said.

Miller and the team realize that with success comes scrutiny, expectations and pressure, but he feels that as long as his Falcons come with the same attitude and work ethic that delivered them a MAC Championship they will be successful.

“We have to remind this team that they are not the only team working hard right now. There are 325 plus Division I women’s teams out there working their tails off right now,” he said. “We have to come into the gym everyday to get better and if we bring that workman like attitude to practice everyday …. we’ll be okay.”

But while his goals for the team this season are to take things one game at a time and not look ahead, he is thinking about the big picture of Falcon basketball while he leads the program.

“The goal for any team is to win a championship, and that is our goal,” he said. But within that goal Miller plans on building a program that is continually fighting for championships.

“We still use Kent State as a model in this league, year in and year out they put themselves in a position to win championships and that is where I want this program to be.”

He wants to be more like The Rolling Stones and less like Dexy’s Midnight Runners.

“I don’t want to be a one hit wonder or a team that has a championship and then falls back under .500. Year in and year out I want to field a team that I think legitimately has a chance to win a championship and that is where this program is at this time and I’m really excited about that.”

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