Men, women expect success for 2013-2014 season

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Fall is the beginning of fall TV shows, cooler weather and football, but it also signifies the beginning of the basketball season.

The Dixie State University basketball season starts for both the men and women in the next two weeks. Both teams have high hopes for the upcoming season.

The men’s team went 15-3 in the Pacific West Conference and 21-7 overall last season. It won the PacWest tournament and made the NCAA tournament but lost in the first round.

The women’s team went 12-3 in the PacWest Conference and 15-13 overall and lost in the second round of the PacWest tournament.

The women’s basketball team begins with two scrimmages and an exhibition game. The first will be played today at 3 p.m. against Snow College in the Burns Arena. It later has a game Oct. 28 at 3 p.m. against Utah State University Eastern at home, and the exhibition game will be Oct. 30 at 7:30 p.m. against Southern Utah University in Cedar City.

“Our practices have been going extremely well,” said Catherria Turner, women’s head basketball coach. “We’re working hard, and we are just excited to get to our first game where we can beat up on someone else instead of ourselves.”

Forward Brianna White, a sophomore nursing major from Phoenix, said she has been trying to improve every day in practice and become the best all-around player she can be.

“Our goal is to get everything accomplished to get to nationals to win,” White said. “In individual games we have (goals) to get a certain amount of steals and rebounds.”

Athletic Director Jason Boothe is excited to see how well the women’s basketball team will do with the new head coach.

“She did pretty well with what she had at Holy Names University, and we think that will translate here with the players we have here,” Boothe said.

Turner is looking for stellar performances from each player and the team as a whole in her first season as head coach at Dixie State.

“My expectations are very simple,” Turner said. “I just want my players to go out and give 100 percent. I feel like if we do that, then positive things will happen. The most important thing is that we are giving our best.”

Turner said a team goal is to win every game. She wants the team to play as hard as it can and make it a fun year for the fans.

The men’s basketball team will begin its season with an exhibition against Division I opponent University of Nevada, Las Vegas at 9 p.m. Nov. 1 in Las Vegas. DSU played UNLV last year and lost 81-80 in overtime.

“With a new team we need to find the right combinations,” said Jon Judkins, men’s head basketball coach. “Right now, I like how hard they are working. They are really trying to do the things we ask them to do. I challenge them every day to get better.”

Judkins said he likes the skill level of the team and the way it is working. He said the team hasn’t sat down and set goals yet, but some of the goals would be the same.

“We want to win again,” Judkins said. “That’s why we play this game. I know, obviously, one of (our goals) is going to be winning the conference again. Another one will be going to the tournament again.”

Guard DeQuan Thompson, a junior communication major from Las Vegas, said he wants to elevate his game this season.

“(My expectations are) to make it to the (NCAA) tournament and go further in the tournament,” Thompson said. “This year, we think we have a good team. We still have a lot of work to do, though.”

Judkins said the team will be a fun team to watch. He said it isn’t as big as it has been in the past, so it will run more.

The whole athletic department has high expectations for this year’s basketball season.