The women’s basketball team takes the court for the first time this Monday, looking to bounce back from their 12-18 season last year.
The Rams are currently projected to finish ninth in the Atlantic 10 and will look to advance to the quarterfinals of the conference championship for a third straight year, and ultimately beyond. They will be led by captains Charise Wilson, Morgan Johnson and Tyler Raysor. Wilson was named to the A-10 Preseason First Team All-Conference Team, as well as the league’s preseason All-Defensive Team. She averaged 17.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game last season.
The Rams will be coached by third-year head coach, Daynia La-Force. In 2014-15 season, she led the biggest season turnaround in program history, as the Rams finished 17-13 overall, a 10-game improvement from the previous year. La-Force is 29-31in her career here at URI, and is looking to atone for the disappointment of last season, which surprised many who expected a complete breakthrough.
The Rams’ first opponent will be the University of Bridgeport, who they play on Nov. 7. Their non-conference schedule will likely get tougher after the opener when they travel to upstate New York to take on the Syracuse Orange (Nov. 11), a team that narrowly left the Ryan Center with a win last year. The Orange came up just short last year losing to perennial powerhouse, the University of Connecticut in the National Championship game. The team will once again serve as an important test for a URI squad desperate to move up a level in the league standings.
The Rams’ next games includes contests against Penn (Nov. 18) Michigan State (Dec. 8). Of the 13 possible non-conference opponents, nine finished .500 or better in 2015-16. As for the conference play, the Rams will have a 16-game slate playing each team in the league at least once while playing Massachusetts, La Salle and Richmond twice.
Rhode Island will play three postseason teams, with Duquesne and George Washington making the NCAA Tournament, and Saint Louis making the WNIT. Luckily, all three of those games will be at home. The Rams’ will only have one nationally broadcasted game on the schedule which will take place Monday, Jan. 9 at La Salle. Saint Louis is currently projected to win the A-10 with Dayton right behind them.
URI will look to prove people wrong and exceed their projection of ninth place as La-Force hopes to once again master the art of the turnaround.