Lady Tigers look to return to prominence

It’s 11:15 a.m. on Tuesday. While most students are getting out of class, members of Lady Tiger basketball team are pushing themselves through grueling suicide drills. In two lines, the girls run up and down the floor giving it their all.After an awful 2-26 record last season, the GSU women’s basketball program looks to return to prominence.

Donnita Drain is the new women’s basketball coach. Drain comes to GSU via Langston University. In her 13 years there she complied 244 wins, six NAIA Division 1 National tournament appearances and two Red River Conference championships. Drain played her collegiate ball at Northwestern Oklahoma State, scoring 1,916 points (third highest in school history) and still holds the school record for points in a single game with 48.

After four 20-win seasons and 31 wins last year, Drain takes over a 2-26 team that had 14 losses by 15 points or more. Drain has a theory why the team struggled last season. “Sometimes winning and losing is an attitude,” she said.

According to Drain, the team has been working hard, training mentally and physically for the upcoming season. Drain and her coaching staff have been working hard on instilling discipline in their young players. The team’s roster consists of six freshmen, five sophomores, a junior and six seniors.

Drain expressed her frustration in dealing with young players. “Freshmen are the most difficult because they are overwhelmed with the college atmosphere. However, the best thing is that they have four years in our program,” said Drain.

Drain primarily runs a three guard and two post offense, and on defense she likes to press a lot and play man-to-man. She usually plays eight or nine people in her rotation, who are distinguishable by their white practice jerseys. The players in black jerseys are fighting to get in the rotation.

Drain expects seniors Kourtney Sherman and Gabby Fleming to step and lead the team. Paris Hawkins, coming off a shoulder injury, is expected to contribute also. Newcomer Krystal Huggins, a transfer from Southern, is the wild card in the bunch.

Coach Drain believes she can turn this team around. “I want the girls to dream, I want them to believe that we can still be playing the last week in March. (Langston) won 31 games last year, we expect to win,” said Drain.

The Lady Tigers open the season at home Nov. 9 against Huston-Tillotson.