April 20th was the easy part. Since then, Robyn Scherr-Wells and her squad have done the heavy lifting of turning around a UE program that has struggled to compete the past 4 seasons, winning just 16 games, while losing 97. Not an easy task, but as the first week of official practices begin, the optimism around the new-look Aces hasn't waned.
"They've been amazing," says Scherr-Wells. "Really, the transition couldn't have gone smoother at this stage. They've been so bought in. They've jumped in with both feet and they're so coachable."
One of the biggest things is the style of play. Everything's been different in a good way.
"Using more of the strengths that our team has to win games," says University of Evansville senior guard Anna Newman. "Her encouragement is over the top and we love it.
As for the roster Scherr-Wells inherited, despite last season's 6-and-18 record, the cupboard is far from bare. Junior swing player Abby Feit, last season's high scorer and top assist leader senior Anna Newman lead six returners. The challenge is to blend them in with a patchwork of division one and junior college transfers,as well as three freshman."
"I've been very fortunate to inherit a really talented group of playersm" says Scherr-Wells. "Obviously Abby Feit, one of the top players in the MVC, with a senior point guard like Anna Newman, we're really lucky in that sense. We also brought in some really nice players too that compliment what was returning. They've all really gelled well together and compliment each other well."
"We have half returners, half new," says Feit, "so we've had to adjust to that, but I think everybody's been doing really well learning a new style of play and adjust to our style of play."
And the style of play is much more uptempo in years past, and the hope that, combined with more victories will turn Meeks Family Fieldhouse into a house of horrors for the opposition.
"Working really hard to get to that point," says Newman. "Returners and the new people ready to come out and play, just doing whatever it takes to win."
"I think having early momentum will be really important for us," says Feit. "If we win most of our non-conference games going into a tough Missouri Valley Conference. Getting a crowd back in there would be nice."
"That's what I love about Meeks," says Scherr-Wells. "If we get fans in there it's going to be an awesome home court advantage. That's my job and that's our job, to put a winning team out there. And we have a chance to do that early on in our schedule."
The Aces open the season at home November 9 against Austin Peay.