Oct. 2, 2012
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The UAB women's basketball team held its first official practice of the 2012-13 season on Tuesday with a two-hour session in Bartow Arena. The Blazers enter the year riding the momentum of three straight winning seasons.
"Today was a good day to kind of just see what the team retained [from the offseason]," head coach Audra Smith said. "They were very competitive against each other and that's the thing we have to have. We have to compete on every single play, and they did a very good job of that today."
Smith, who is already the second-winningest head coach in program history, enters her ninth season on the bench for the Blazers. She has coached UAB to three top-3 finishes in the Conference USA standings, two postseason berths and one Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI) championship.
"I'm really pleased with our physical condition," Smith said. "We're going to condition two to three times a week because that's key. We have to be in shape, if we're going to be a running team. You have to be able to run, you have to be able to push every single possession."
Coming off a 19-11 (9-7 C-USA) season a year ago, and third-place finish in the league, the Blazers will have a very different looking roster. The Green and Gold return just three starters from last year, and add eight newcomers, including seven freshmen and one junior college transfer.
Two of the three returning starters, however, are 2011-12 Second-Team All-Conference USA selections in senior guard Amber Jones and junior forward Karisma Chapman. Chapman also became the first UAB player ever named to the league's all-defensive team last year.
"Overall, I'm very pleased with the first day, their attitude and their excitement," Smith recalled. "I'm proud of the veterans. They did a good job today with the freshmen, giving them some constructive criticism and making sure they were in the right places in our drills and schemes."
The Blazers tip off their two-game exhibition slate in 26 days when they host Brewton-Parker on Oct. 28 at 2 p.m. CT before welcoming UAH on Nov. 5 for a 7 p.m. CT tipoff. UAB will open regular season play on Nov. 9 at home against Austin Peay at Noon CT.