It is a new year for the Michigan State women’s basketball team, and along with the new year, the team will also be introducing new head coach, Robyn Fralick, who enters her 20th year as a college coach and ninth year as a head coach.
Fralick spoke with the media before the team's very first practice and expressed the focus and theme of playing as a team this year. Fralick also announced this years team motto: “Great teams have great teammates.”
A fitting motto, because as of the official start of their first practice, MSU added five new players to the roster and has eight returning players to lead the fresh faces into the start of the year.
“New faces bring a little bit of enthusiasm and energy, and then the returners bring a lot of experience. You know we’re fortunate, coming in new in the current landscape of athletics, to have eight returners. To have eight kids that really know the Big Ten and have experience with the Big Ten, so I like the combination,” Fralick said.
The five new players to join the Spartans include freshman guard Bree Robinson, junior guard Jocelyn Tate, freshman center Mary Meng, redshirt junior guard Lauren Ross, and freshman guard Kennedy Blair.
At the beginning of practice, Robinson was getting a lot of work in early with veteran guards DeeDee Hagemann and Gabby Elliot and received a lot of credit for stepping into a leadership role early on as a freshman.
“(I'm) really impressed with Bree a lot, her coming in as a freshman, I can see a bright future for her,” Elliot said.
Veteran guard Moira Joiner also shared similar sentiments about the freshman.
“I definitely think someone to watch is Bree Robinson. She is a freshman this year, and I think she is a great leader already. She is very positive and she has great effort on and off the court,” Joiner said.
There are still a lot of things that are in the process of getting ready for the start of the season — including the health of a few players including Elliot and Lauren Ross who are both recovering from previous season-ending injuries.
“They’re still in the process of coming back, but they’ve been able to do a lot more. They’re still working towards getting fully cleared for contact,” coach Fralick said. She also spoke on the overall health of the team, “A few kids have been out for a little bit here and there, but overall we’ve been pretty good.”
Elliot, who tore her left ACL last year, announced she would be returning for the start of the season and also talked about the process of returning.
“It’s been a long process, I mean literally no days off, doing the extra work and trying to still keep up at the same time, but it has been a process that I needed and I am in the process of returning. I will be back for the season,” Elliot said.
With a “mixed” 13-player roster, the Spartans will look to make a strong run this year and hopefully make the NCAA tournament after missing it last year. Their first exhibition game will be held against the Davenport Panthers at the Breslin Center on Nov. 2.