The 2nd Annual NAU Women’s Basketball Grand Canyon hike is in the books. Sunday we hiked 6.5 miles down the South Kaibab Trial to the Colorado River, and hiked 10 miles back up the Bright Angel Trail for our final team building activity of the year. The entire team made it in record time with great memories, and limited blisters . . . but lots of sore muscles.


Our spring workouts start winding down next week as our players prepare for final exams. After finals, our players will head home for a six week summer break. Part of their job while at home will be to take what they’ve learned and achieved in our spring workouts and improve and build on it. In addition to the lifting, agility, and conditioning workouts with our strength coach, Cody Hodgeson, our players have been involved in individual skill development workouts with our coaching staff.

Individual sessions have included shooting, passing, dribbling, post moves, perimeter moves, defensive footwork and positioning, and rebounding. These are all things that happen a lot during a basketball game. The keys to getting better as a team in the offseason are simple: help our current players get better and get better players to fill our open roster spots. One key to getting better is repetition with those things that happen a lot. The second key to getting better is playing against better competition.


When I grew up (a long time ago), playing against better competition almost always meant playing with the boys. Not necessarily because they were more skilled, but because they were generally bigger, faster and stronger. Playing against competition that is bigger, faster and stronger forces you to do things at a higher level . . . handle the ball more deftly, get a shot off more efficiently, play more physically, play with more brains when brawn doesn’t work. Playing with the boys also taught me to be a better rebounder. On the playground, teamwork and passing tend to take a back seat to individual creativity. You learn quickly if you want the ball, you have to go get it.

These days, there are many opportunities to play against better competition. There are now both men AND women who are bigger, faster and stronger. In addition to individual skill workouts, our players will spend their summer break seeking out pick-up games against better competition at YMCA’s, rec centers, playgrounds and on high school and college campuses in their respective hometowns as we make this our most productive offseason ever.


Brittani Lusain is a 5’9 freshman guard from San Diego, California. She will spend the next minute delving into the life of a teammate while also sharing something about herself:

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