EWU basketball teams look forward to their seasons

EWU+junior+guard+Jacob+Davison+attacks+the+basket.+Davison+scored+26+points+in+EWU%27s+71-69+victory+over+PSU+Saturday.

Drew Lawson for The Easterner

EWU junior guard Jacob Davison attacks the basket. Davison scored 26 points in EWU’s 71-69 victory over PSU Saturday.

By Randle Kinswa, Co-Managing Editor/Sports Editor

EWU men’s and women’s basketball teams have begun practicing, and are both looking forward to the start of their seasons. 

EWU women’s basketball lost two starters from last year’s team due to transfer, and the men’s team lost one starter. The MVP of the Big Sky conference, Mason Peatling, graduated in the spring.

Now both teams look to start the fragile 2020-21 season within the next six weeks. 

The women’s head coach, Wendy Schuller said it was tough to get better this offseason due to the COVID-19 restrictions. “Missing each other and then just not being able to work with coaches and go against your teammates daily was tough.”

EWU head coach Wendy Schuller and her staff are retooling a young roster amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

said she had to get creative this offseason when it came to recruiting and gives her associate coach, Bryce Currie a lot of credit for the recruiting success this offseason. She said there were a lot of zoom meetings and little videos that were used in the program’s recruiting efforts this offseason. 

 

When asked about what her or her team discovered about themselves over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Schuller said it was the little things in life that suddenly became more important than before.

“I think all of us now have a newfound appreciation for the little things,” Schuller said. “For us we were just begging to get players out … and when we were able to get out on Reese Court … it was a great feeling and something we had taken for granted.”

Schuller said she also learned that after 29 years of Division-1 coaching, just to be more open to new ideas and resources.

Schuller is excited for the season to start, and to get back in a routine. 

“All of us are yearning for normalcy,” Schuller said.

EWU head coach Shantay Legans gives instruction during EWU’s 74-71 loss to Idaho Thursday. Legans was largely unhappy with EWU’s effort in the game on February 14th, 2020. (Mckenzie Ford for The Easterner)

The men’s coach, Shantay Legans, said it’s definitely helped that there are a number of returning players this offseason.

“It’s been a rollercoaster,” Legans said. But, we have very mentally tough guys … guys who like to be around each other … that type of stuff just makes it easier on a coach.”

Legans said that for the recruiting offseason, they got a jump on other programs due to the fact that they have a lot of redshirts and returning players, and were not super desperate to recruit this offseason.

“We’ve done our homework early,” Legans said. “All or our (recruits) are high school kids.”

However, Legans said that their number one recruiting goal is to keep the players who are already here to stay. 

Legans said that the prodcals of a player testing positive for COVID-19 this year is that the team has to quarantine for 14 days. 

“If you get a positive test on Monday you have to miss Wednesday and Saturday twice,” Legans said. “That can be 4 games.”

Fans watch on as the EWU women’s basketball team beat Simon Fraser 72-66 in a home exhibition on Sunday. There were 166 people in attendance, below last year’s regular season average of about 600. (Bailey Monteith)

Legans said that the team that can be the healthiest might be the team that has the most success this year. He said that he has expressed to his team to stay healthy. 

“You just have to be aware and to think sometimes,” Legans said. 

The women’s basketball team is still unsure when their first game will be, but the Men’s first game is scheduled for Dec. 3 at Northern Arizona University. Their first game at Reese Court will be on Dec. 31 against Portland State.