WOMEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Boothe ready to move forward with Falcons - Odessa American: College

WOMEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Boothe ready to move forward with Falcons

By Lee Scheide lscheide@oaoa.com, 432-333-7703 | Posted: Thursday, November 7, 2019 7:51 pm

Last season was a struggle for the UTPB women’s basketball team.

Coach Rae Boothe and the Falcons are ready for the next chapter.

That begins when UTPB travels to face Regis University to open the 2019-20 season at 4 p.m. today in Denver.

That will be followed by a game against Colorado-Colorado Springs at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

“We’re ready to play somebody else,” Boothe said. “I feel like playing this weekend is kind of perfect timing; we have, for the most part, everybody healthy.

“We have tough competition Friday and Saturday. I will be good to see where we are and we’re looking forward to the trip.”

The Falcons return three players — Jada Berry, Kristian James, Lemia Ntor-Ue — from last year’s squad that finished 4-24 overall, 1-19 in Lone Star Conference Play.

To help with the transition, Boothe also has three NCAA Division I transfers among the newcomers. Additions that Boothe will be looking to play significant minutes.

Point guard Kayla Galindo, of El Paso, moved in from Abilene Christian and is expected to step into the quarterbacking role for the team.

Galindo was a member of the Wildcats’ team that won the Southland Conference champion last season and then met top-seed Baylor in the NCAA Tournament.

“She’s a great point guard and she should play about 35 minutes a game as long as she can stay healthy,” Boothe said.

Yazmin Batch, of Little Rock, Ark., is another newcomer that the Falcons will lean on, coming in as a graduate transfer from Delaware State a season ago.

Also relocating to the Permian Basin is Precious Featherson, of Paterson, N.J., who played at Saints Peter’s last season.

They will begin the process of meshing with a freshman class that Boothe considered to be the best in the Lone Star Conference.

While that is happening, the Falcons’ third-year coach will be evaluating things on the fly this weekend in determining the correct roles for each player and the depth of this year’s team.

“I think this team can really shoot the ball,” Boothe said. “I think in the past couple years, we’ve really struggled with perimeter shooting and I think that’s going to be one of our strengths.

“We’ll be able to get up and down the floor a little better and hopefully make it more of a full-court game than a half-court game.”

Besides shooting, team chemistry was an issue at times the past two seasons and Berry and the returning players tried to figure out ways to get this year’s team to be more cohesive, on and off the court.

“I’m really excited to see how we play together,” Berry said. “Excited to get everyone involved on the court.

“We want to have a really close team and make sure that everyone is comfortable with everyone, so we tried to have group chats and have everyone talk to each other."

Those communications skills likely are going to come in handy during the season as Boothe wants to play a 90-foot game, with pressure defense creating transition offensive chances.

The Falcons will get their first chances Friday and Saturday.

“We are going to find out how deep we are and where we can sub more and limit our fouls and continue playing the up-tempo game,” Booth said. “I think we are a lot deeper and we can score a lot better in transition as well.