Women’s Basketball: Team hopes to make eighth NCAA tournament showing

Highlighted by 2007 Mountain West Conference co-player of the year Adrianne Ross, the women’s basketball team will utilize a core group of senior guards to try for an eighth straight appearance in the NCAA tournament.Head coach Jeff Mittie said Ross has always had a great ability to get to rim, no matter whom she is up against.

“When you look up at the end, I think Adrianne Ross is going to be a player that we’re going to go to at the end of games,” Mittie said. “She’s a player that’s going to have the ball in her hands.”

Senior Moneka Knight said Ross will draw the focus of opposing defenses to create opportunities for others.

“She will be able to kick it to us, and we will get able to get a little more involved this year,” said Knight, last season’s TCU defensive player of the year. “But we all know she’s a great player. She’s a great scorer and she can finish whenever she gets to the goal.”

Ross, the conference’s leading scorer from a year ago, said every guard on the team has improved her three-point shooting. She said she thinks last year’s conference-leading offense will be even better this time around – even without graduated all-conference performer Ashley Davis.

“As good as Ashley was, I think we will be better this year because you aren’t keying on one shooter,” Ross said. “We’ll be able to penetrate, and when we do, we have more than one person to shoot.”

Though Ross is his team’s most potent offensive weapon, Mittie said his offense is built around spreading the floor and utilizing different options to score.

“You’d really like to have three scoring options out there that you feel like you can go for double figures at any time, and a fourth that goes sometimes,” Mittie said.

Ross said one thing she noticed during last year’s first-round tournament loss to Ole Miss was that although her team had just as much talent as Ole Miss, the Rebels were in shape and strong. The team has worked on building its strength and conditioning with new strength coach Brandon Johnson during the offseason, which she said will be a major factor to the team’s success.

“I think he will get us to that level so we can compete with (teams like) Ole Miss,” Ross said.

Senior point guard Helen Roden enters her second year running point for the Horned Frogs. Ross said the Melbourne, Australia, native will be much more comfortable now that she’s used to having the ball in her hand.

Roden, along with Ross, Knight and newcomer Helena Sverrisdottir give Mittie a deep frontcourt to turn to during the season.

“Helen at the end of the year was playing her best basketball, and I think she’ll pick up where she left off,” Mittie said.