Men, women kick off seasons (Contd)

The women’s basketball is set to open up their season this tomorrow at Youngstown State. This weekend’s game will be the second time the team gets to play together, their first came the first week of November when they competed in an exhibition game against the AAU All-stars.

Tomorrow’s game will also be the season opener for Youngstown State. This year’s meeting will mark the fifth straight time these two teams will play each other in the season opener.

Youngstown State defeated the Falcons in last year’s debut by a score of 70-64, however, this year Youngstown State is starting the season under a new coach, Tisha Hill. The head coaching job is the first for Hill, who has spent 10 years as an assistant in the NCAA.

Being under a new head coach has made preparing for Youngstown State difficult for the Falcons. “Their entire roster is back, so we are comfortable with their personnel and what their strengths and weaknesses are. But with a brand new coach it is hard to tell what they are going to run offensively and defensively,” said Falcon head coach Curt Miller. “We have to concentrate on ourselves and make our kids aware of all the strengths and weaknesses of the individual players, but really with the first game of the year and with a first year head coach you don’t have the ability of preparation of what they are going to do.”

Despite not knowing what to expect from Youngstown State, the Falcons are extremely excited for the beginning of the season. This year’s Falcon team includes seven freshman, two of which will start, and only two seniors.

“I think they are going to come out and play with a lot of energy but I expect some nerves,” said Miller. “It will be interesting to see strolling the Freshmen out in an away venue instead of home. They have a couple of exhibition games under their belt but they have yet to play on the road. So I know there will be nerves but there should be a lot of energy.”

The opening game, however, will be nothing new to the two Falcon seniors, Lindsay Austin and Stefanie Wenzel. The season opener will mark the 80th start for Austin, who also has 337 career assists for the Falcons. Wenzel, who enters this season as a major scoring contributor, has averaged double figure scoring in the past two seasons for the Falcons.

This season will also be the third for the Falcons head coach. Miller is currently 21-35 as head coach, and this weekend’s game has some significance for the third year coach. Miller recorded his first collegiate victory at Youngstown State two years ago.

“I’m excited about being back there,” said Miller. “I think it is going to be two hungry teams that are very similar on paper and I’m anxious to see how the game turns out.”

Following the season opener the Falcons will be headed home to host Detroit in the home opener. The Tuesday night game will be the first half of a double header.The men’s game will follow. The Falcons, who had the best increase in attendance in the MAC last season, will undoubtedly be looking forward to returning to the crowds of Anderson Arena.