No. 3 @UTTylerWBB opens season Tuesday at Dallas Christian

Monday, November 14, 2016
by Wes Bloomquist || wbloomquist@uttyler.edu

TYLER – The No. 3-ranked UT Tyler women’s basketball team will open its season against Dallas Christian College at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday in Farmer’s Branch before travelling to California where the Patriots play Redlands and Chapman this weekend.

“We are looking forward to facing outside competition at this point,” UT Tyler coach Kendra Hassell said. “I feel like we have settled in and are doing a good job of executing our offense as well as switching between defenses. The team responded well after both of our scrimmages to make necessary adjustments to strengthen our play on both ends. I like what I’m seeing with our chemistry and energy and I’m excited to now watch as we make adjustments in game situations.”

The Patriots are coming off their best season in program history where they went 30-2 and reached the NCAA DIII Elite 8. UT Tyler cruised to the American Southwest Conference championship with a 15-0 record and will enter this season having reached the NCAA Division III postseason three straight seasons and with nine experienced seniors on its roster. UT Tyler is 1-0 all-time against Dallas Christian which is a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association. The Patriots earned a 91-38 win over the Crusaders in 2009 in the only other meeting between the two programs.

The Patriots are the preseason pick to win the American Southwest Conference East Division and are at No. 5 in the No. 5 by Women’s DIII News preseason rankings following last year’s unprecedented success. The team will play Redlands on Friday at 9 p.m. in Redlands, California before taking on Chapman at 7 p.m. on Saturday in a neutral-court game.

Last year’s team set new program records for wins, total points (2,677), 3-pointers (285), scoring average (83.7), rebounds (1,401), assists (569), blocked shots (93) and as the highest ranked team in program history. The team would finish second in the nation in assists, 3-pointers and total points and third in rebounds. The 83.7 points per game ranked fourth in the NCAA and led the conference with LeTourneau ranking second with 70.7 points per game. UT Tyler’s scoring margin of 18.1 points per game was far atop the ASC rankings also with Concordia second with a 4.3 margin of victory.

Michelle Obach was named a WBCA All-American last season after leading the team with 18.0 points per game along with 71 steals and 114 assists (3.6 per), including scoring in double-digits 28 times and having four or more assists in 15 games. She will be playing in her third season at UT Tyler after playing at Merrimack College as a freshman and is the eighth leading scorer in program history with 893 career points. Makenzi May returns as the ninth leading scorer in program history with 833 points and is second in UT Tyler history with 166 career 3-pointers. Obach has 108 3-pointers in her career entering this season. With May and Obach being joined by fellow seniors Re’Elle Miller, D’Onna Matthews, Dia Evans, Brittany Johnson, Madison Wilson, Shuntay Raglin and Adrienne Drake, the Patriots are a team that outscored opponents by a 18.1 scoring margin last season and have advanced to the NCAA tournament the past three years.

UT Tyler, which is 84-9 over the past three seasons, will host its home opener on Wednesday, Nov. 23 against Howard Payne in an ASC Championship final rematch which will not count towards the conference standings. The Patriots are scheduled to host 14 games at the Herrington Patriot Center, including hosting Birmingham Southern on Monday, Nov. 28.