SAN ANTONIO (Oct. 7, 2019) – The Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) women's basketball team has released its 2019-2020 schedule. The Saints will bid for their seventh Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) title in 11 years and its eighth trip to the NAIA National Championship Tournament. The women finished a historic 2018-2019 season after advancing to the Fab Four round – the farthest any team at OLLU has ever gone.
At the helm this year will be Stacy Stephens, who was the team's assistant coach the past two seasons. She takes over after the departure of previous coach Christopher Minner, who left for a job at NCAA University of North Texas. Also new to the coaching staff is Assistant Coach Patty Medina and returning are Assistant Coach Kari Wallace and Brandon Postell. New student assistants include Briana Henson, Regina Sheffield, and Mikki Flores – all seniors from last year's squad.
Head Coach Stephens said "We are playing a tough schedule that will challenge us early and fast. We will compete against some of the best talent in the NAIA, and also scrimmage Angelo State and play Stephen F. Austin State University in an exhibition game. These challenges will prepare us for conference and postseason play, and we are looking forward to each and every game on our schedule. "
The Saints have 14 home games and 20 away games on the schedule. They hope to repeat as conference regular season and tournament champions. Last season, regular-season runner-up was LSU-Alexandria (22-8/14-4), followed by Paul Quinn College (20-9/13-5), LSU-Shreveport (15-13/11-7), Huston-Tillotson University (16-10/10-8), University of St. Thomas (11-15/8-10), Texas College (8-19/6-12), Wiley College (8-19/6-12), the University of the Southwest (8-17/5-13) and Jarvis Christian College (1-28/1-17).
This year's conference lineup excludes St. Thomas, who left the NAIA for the NCAA as a D3 school. In addition, Texas A&M University – Texarkana will play its inaugural season this year.
The Saints advanced to the Fab Four of nationals and were joined by Alexandria, who lost in the second round.
Returning to this year's squad are NAIA All-American honorees Kasey Saldana (SR/San Antonio, Texas) and Lena Wilson (SR/Converse, Texas), both four-year seniors; sophomores Dezeree White (SO/Houston, Texas), Alexis White (SO/Houston, Texas) and Nileyah Vaughn (SO/Allen, Texas); junior Zerina Shatri (JR/Prishtine, Kosovo); and seniors Irma Jean Ealy (SR/San Diego, Calif.) and Jamia Miller (SR/Odessa, Texas).
(Listed in parenthesis are all-time records.)
The women will begin their preseason with a scrimmage against NCAA D2 Angelo State University (first game) in San Angelo on Nov. 3. The Saints will then travel to Waxahachie, Texas., to participate in the SAGU Classic and will play NAIA Southwestern Assemblies of God University (8-1) on Nov. 8 and NAIA John Brown University (first game) on Nov. 9.
The Saints open their home schedule with a nonconference game against NAIA Wayland Baptist University (4-4) on Nov. 15. They will head back out for two away games in Westmont, Calif. The Saints will face NAIA Westmont College (first game) on Nov. 22 and NAIA The Master's University (0-1) on Nov. 23.
OLLU will host the OLLU Classic from Nov. 29-30. The tournament opens with a match between Oklahoma City University (3-5) and Keiser University (first game) on Nov. 29 at 2 p.m. and OLLU against Oklahoma Panhandle State University (first game) at 4 p.m. On Saturday, OLLU will play Oklahoma City at 2 p.m. and Panhandle State will play Keiser at 4 p.m.
On Dec. 5, the Saints will open their conference schedule with a game against Paul Quinn (17-1) in Dallas, Texas. They will travel to Hobbs, N.M., on Dec. 7 for another conference match against the University of the Southwest (19-1).
The Saints will host Texas College (18-2) on Dec. 12 and Jarvis Christian (19-2) on Dec. 14 before heading out to Phoenix, Ariz., for the Frontier Classic. On Dec. 17, the Saints will play Carroll College (0-1), on Dec. 19, Rocky Mountain College (1-0) and Dec. 20, Montana Tech (1-0).
OLLU will travel to Nacogdoches, Texas, for an exhibition against NCAA D1 Stephen F. Austin State University (0-1) on Dec. 29.
After two nonconference games to open the season against Southern University at New Orleans (1-0) and Dillard University (3-1) on Jan. 3 and Jan. 5, the Saints will concentrate on their conference schedule through the rest of spring.
Shreveport (15-12) will visit OLLU on Jan. 9, and Alexandria (9-1) will play the Saints on Jan. 11. The team will travel for its next three games, beginning on Jan. 16 against Texarkana (first game) in Texarkana, Texas, Jan. 18 against Wiley (17-5) in Marshall, Texas, and Jan. 25 against Huston-Tillotson (25-1) in Austin, Texas.
The Saints will host Paul Quinn on Jan. 30 and Southwest on Feb. 1. They will travel to Tyler, Texas, on Feb. 6 for a game against Texas College. Next will be against Jarvis in Hawkins, Texas, on Feb. 8, Shreveport in Shreveport, La., on Feb. 13 and Alexandria in Alexandria, La., on Feb. 15.
The last three games will be at home starting on Feb. 20 against Texarkana, Feb. 22 against Wiley and Feb. 29 against Huston-Tillotson. During the last game, the Saints will honor seniors Kasey Saldana, Lena Wilson, Irma Jean Ealy and Jamia Miller.
The RRAC tournament will take place at LSU-Alexandria in Alexandria, La., March 5-7. Six teams will qualify for the tournament, with first rounds played between the third and sixth seeds and the fourth and fifth seeds. The semifinals match will be next with the winners of the first round against the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds. On the last day of the tournament, the championship match will be held.
The RRAC champion will receive an automatic bid to the NAIA National Championship Tournament that will take place from March 18-24. The event will take place in Billings, Mont.
John Paul will be the in-game "Voice of the Saints" for his first season. The live-streaming "Voice of the Saints," Michael Thompson, will return to call all home games.
Admission charge for all home games is $5 for adults, $3 for children, 7-17, and free for those younger than seven.
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