Basketball season is under way and the Chaparral women’s basketball team started their season off on the right note, beating McHenry County College 66-47 Tuesday.
“It’s always a positive thing that we can win the first game, the alternative is losing and you don’t want that to happen,” Head Coach Cris Cotton said.
Many teams would be content with a nineteen point victory to start off the year, but the Lady Chaps are not one of these teams.
They are always striving to develop their game and become a stronger team with each match-up.
“We don’t want to be satisfied with that win,” Cotton explained. “In a greedy sense, we want more and that means we’re going to have to play better and better.”
In order to play better and better, that means putting in work at practice improving upon the weak areas of the team’s play, which is exactly what Cotton is focused on.
According to Cotton, the team is not in pique conditioning form yet which can lead to more mistakes being made on the court.
But when the Chaps lack energy during a game, Cotton believes that mental toughness is the key to their success.
“It seems that when the physical conditioning goes down, the basketball IQ goes down,”Cotton said. “So we need find a way when we’re tired to mentally be stronger and mentally have better conditioning.”
Adding to the list of challenges this season already has in store for the Lady Chaps is one burning question: where will they play their home games?
With the Physical Education Arena set to close for construction in December, the Chaps are continuing their search for somewhere to play and practice once their home court is no longer available.
“There’s some opportunity, we’re waiting to hear back from other people, but right around the corner is when we need these other gyms,” Cotton said. “Hopefully, we can resolve this very quickly.”
It is these kinds of off the court distractions that can cause teams to get sidetracked and make excuses for poor play.
However, Cotton is not one for excuses and the Lady Chaps are determined to not let this get in the way of winning games this season.
“Human nature will allow it to affect you, but I look at it as a little adversity that builds character,” Cotton explained.
The team’s main focus remains the same: beat the opponents, regardless of where they play the games.
“We can’t get caught up in [not having a home court]. We need to think about how to play the game of basketball no matter if we’re playing here at COD or if we’re playing in Alaska,” Cotton said.
It is this kind of mentality that has helped coaches find success at the college over the years.
“We have a very strong tradition here at college of DuPage. We’ve won two national championships, we’ve been to Nationals since 2000, we’ve been to the national championship some eight times,” Cotton said.
More importantly, Cotton believes that this tradition is still present in his team today.
As the coach looks toward this season as a whole and the goals he hopes to accomplish, he believes that the Chaps have the potential to win their region and return to Nationals.
However, in order to achieve this, Cotton says there is a lot of hard work ahead of them.
“But with a lot of new faces, a lot of new talent, this team definitely has the pieces to be very successful,” Cotton said.