Be B.R.A.V.E.- that’s the concept put in place by Head Coach Daynia La-Force to rebuild the lost continuity and culture of the University of Rhode Island women’s basketball team. For Coach La-Force and the Rams, B.R.A.V.E. stands for behavior, relationships, attitude, value and environment.
“It sets the framework for a positive team culture,” said La-Force. “We have to be more mindful of our behavior on and off the court, our relationships with each other, our relationships with the coaching staff, our attitude overall in terms of how we play and how we respond, and our values in the environment.”
That has been the main focus for the Rams since they are coming off a season in which they went 3-27. There’s no denying, however, that a roster full of young players who were able to get their feet wet last year is incredibly important for the upcoming season.
“People doubt us,” said junior center Nicole Jorgensen. “We have a lot to prove. We’re a whole different team than last year.”
Jorgensen earned Atlantic-10 third team honors this preseason and will be looked at by the underdog Rams as not only the driving force of the team but also as a vocal leader.
“Third team is an honor,” said Jorgensen. “There are many girls in the conference who are just as good if not better. Being recognized is a big achievement for me.”
Accountability for this team has also been a point driven home by the Rams. “We have something called hold each other accountable,” said Coach La-Force. “If you make a mistake, acknowledge the fact that you made a mistake and you’re trying to get better. If your teammate makes a mistake don’t worry about it keep your head up. The more we focus on being positive, and constantly reminding each other on the little intangibles that we need to perfect to be a better program, the better off we’re going to be.”
URI also went on a European tour over the summer, playing in three contests in Portugal and Spain against Professional All-Star teams from Lisbon, Belem and Barcelona. “Going overseas was huge for our team,” said redshirt junior guard Elemy Colome. “The team bonding you could see transition onto the court. We were playing amazing out there and we got a couple wins which was our goal.”
“We’re with each other all the time, but we’re with each other on basketball terms,” said Nicole Jorgensen. “We had the outlet of experiencing new culture together and I think that will really help us with our season this year.”
The Rhode Island offense is also undergoing an overhaul from the coaching staff and has been a point of emphasis for La-Force.
“Last year we took a lot of bad shots, not because we were selfish, but because they didn’t understand the system well enough to be patient and work for a better shot,” said La-Force. “Now that we’re a little older, a little wiser, a lot more experienced, that’s gonna help us take better shots and make better plays.”
Coach La-Force and company will play an open scrimmage on Sunday, Nov. 4 against New Haven and will officially tip their season off against Boston College on Thursday, Nov. 8.