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Preseason boosts confidence

Grenfell is a junior public relations and management double major and can be reached at carly.grenfell@drake.edu.

What do you get when you combine 13 basketball players and five coaches with the months of August and September? PRESEASON! What screams excitement more than the word “preseason” in all caps? There is definitely nothing more exhilarating than that, and I will gladly tell you why. Our team and our coaches are so energized for this year. Even with a handful of changes, the dream is all the same — a conference championship and the opportunity to play in the NCAA tournament. And so it begins…

There are thousands of Division I programs across the nation. Every single one of them has the same goal as we do — to win games, to win championships, to be a part of March Madness. In this sense everyone is identical. But here at Drake we bring something else to the table. We go about our goals the Bulldog Way.

“We act with integrity. We demonstrate an uncompromising commitment to excellence. We outwork and outhustle our opponent in pursuit of championships. We desire the best for and expect the best from each other. We maximize our potential by aspiring to greatness. We live the bulldog way.” This is something that every team at this university stands by. It’s a lot to take in, and a lot to carry out. But we, Drake women’s basketball, have a plan.

So maybe we have only been around our new coaching staff for a brief amount of time. However, the messages that have been engrained into our thinking, even this early in the year, are powerful ones. Coach Jennie Baranczyk (our head coach), along with her staff, has instilled a level of confidence in our team that I know will carry over into this season. They have gotten rid of any skepticism that may or may not have been floating around. We will talk about winning, we will practice like winners, we will act like winners, and we will do it all with great sense of pride.

Going beyond that, we follow five essential principles: respect, commit, motivation, passion and thankfulness. On the court we emphasize an upbeat tempo, rebounding and communication. You can believe it when you see it. As much as I’d love to go into detail about these components of our program, you are probably in class reading this and need to pay attention (not to mention the word limit). Besides, I can say all of this and have it mean nothing. We have a lot to prove, and it doesn’t start when the horn sounds for our first game. It has already started.

We have new coaches and a new system, we graduated our leading scorer and, dare I say it, lost in the conference championship last year. Any of these facts are bound to spark a sense of doubt for any given person that follows our program. However, that is the least of our worries. We take it day-by-day and continue to look ahead at what we plan to accomplish.

Just to tie everything together, I will end on this note: BELIEVE OR LEAVE!

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