A new regime begins Thursday night in Cookeville as Coach Sytia Messer will patrol the sidelines for the first time as head coach of Tech’s women’s basketball team. “It’s time to get back to the tradition and heart we have had here,” Messer said. “Tech is a diamond in the rough and I’m excited about getting our program back to the top of the Ohio Valley Conference.”
The early schedule appears grueling for a squad predicted to finish 8th in the OVC and dominated by underclassmen. Four opponents on this year’s slate were in last season’s NCAA Tournament.
“Every night we are going to bring it,” Messer said. “We’re going to work hard and leave sweat on the floor. Being chosen eighth has become a motivational tool for the season. Eighth is an embarrassment.”
Tech tips off the pre-season at home against Tennessee Wesleyan on Nov. 5 before hitting the road for the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Tournament.
The Golden Eagles then square off against preseason 22nd-ranked Baylor in Waco and last year’s national runner-up Louisville.
A contest at MTSU concludes Tech’s longest road trip of the season before the home opener versus Lipscomb Nov. 30.
Tech’s other non-conference games include: Drake, Southern Illinois, Belmont, St. Louis, and the Bluefield College Lady Rams. Conference play begins Dec. 5 at Jacksonville State and features marquee home match-ups with pre-season OVC favorite Morehead St. on Jan. 7 and last year’s tournament champion Austin Peay Jan. 21.
“One of the things I want to see early is our transition offense,” Messer said. “We’ve worked really hard getting that ready. We want to shoot and score early and then set up offensively.”
The OVC Conference Tournament begins Mar. 2 at campus locations and concludes at the Sommet Center in Nashville on Mar. 6.