By Grace Remington, For The Miami Student
The Miami University women's basketball team hosts Cedarville University in its lone exhibition game Tuesday, before the start of the 2014-15 regular season Nov. 18.
Head coach Cleve Wright said that though he is not focusing on the scoreboard, he still wants his team to treat the exhibition like a real game as much as possible.
"It's a great opportunity to get on the floor and see where we're at," Wright said. "It's an opportunity to get the jitters out, start working on rotations, go hard, play with high energy and play together."
Miami is entering the season after an underwhelming finish last year. The RedHawks' final record was 8-22, with a 4-14 mark in the Mid-American Conference.
On the other hand, Cedarville, a NCAA Division II school from Cedarville, Ohio, is coming off an 18-10 record. The Yellow Jackets went 13-3 in Great Midwest Athletic Conference and return four of their top six scorers from that team.
This year the 'Hawks have a new look, as the team is composed of seven newcomers and only four returners. Senior point guard Courtney Larson is back after starting all 30 games last season. Junior forwards Jessica Rupright and Hannah McCue and redshirt sophomore forward Tamira Ford join Larson.
Because of the team's young age, Wright said he will rely on the leadership of veteran players.
"Returners are important to the development of this team; we need production from everybody," Wright said. "It's important to quickly grow and gain experience. We must be patient with each other and ourselves, and take every practice and game one day at a time."
Larson agreed, citing her own freshman year experience.
"I can remember when I was in their shoes," Larson said. "There's so much to learn in a short period of time. We upperclassmen have to be patient, but they're a good class and they're challenging us."
In terms of expectations this year, both Wright and Larson stated that production and growth as a team is more important than a winning record.
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"We're not basing success off of a record," Wright said. "The number of games we win or lose doesn't determine our success. It's how much better we're getting every day."
In addition to working with a new team dynamic, the Red and White are also trying to instill a new athletic culture.
"We want to develop a culture that is competitive and relentless," Larson said. "People should want to come here to play basketball, not just for the academics and campus. We're going to prove people wrong who look at us and see a young team. We're going to show them what women's basketball is all about."
Wright agreed with his star returner.
"It's about how we view ourselves, not what other people see," Wright said. "When we look in the mirror, how do we see ourselves? If we concentrate on that, our culture, and the way we want to play, the rest will face into place."
Opening tip is 7 p.m. Tuesday at Millett Hall.