After going unbeaten against all non-conference opponents to start off the season, the Union University basketball teams will travel to Shorter University and Lee University this coming weekend to start conference play.
On Thursday, Dec. 4, the Bulldogs will go to Rome, Georgia to compete against conference rival Shorter. On Saturday, Dec. 6, the men’s and women’s teams will face Lee in Cleveland, Tennessee.
The Lady Bulldogs enter Gulf South Conference play fresh off a victory over the top ranked team in the country. The team was also recently ranked No. 19 in the USA Today Sports Top 25 Division II Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Poll and is off to a 4-0 start.
Chelsea Bodiford, academic junior exercise science major, is a guard for the Lady Bulldogs. Bodiford expressed the team’s excitement in their recent success, but was quick to point out their focus on upcoming games.
“We prepare the same way for each team and we don’t take any [team] for granted,” Bodiford said.
Still in her sophomore year of eligibility for athletics, Bodiford is clear on the team’s objective during these two away games: continuing their win streak.
The second of the two games has the Lady Bulldogs facing a familiar opponent in Lee, a team they played a total of four times last season as they defeated the Lady Flames in the NCCAA National Championship last year.
Bodiford has high expectations going into this weekend but knows there are several things the team needs to improve upon.
“Success would be coming back with two conference wins, but that we also get better at things like defense,” Bodiford said.
The men’s team also enters conference play undefeated with six wins.
With their first GSC game against Shorter on Thursday, the Bulldog basketball team understands the intensity waiting for them in their conference.
Eric Leisey, business administration major and forward for the team, said the Bulldogs will face competition from top to bottom.
“Everybody’s good this year,” the academic senior said.
The team philosophy heading into the weekend is to approach each game individually. With the rest of the season consisting of conference games, the Bulldogs said they will need to keep this mentality throughout in order to stay strong in the GSC.
Preparation this week has been directed toward Shorter.
“They’ll be ready to play us,” Leisey said. “They’re not going to take us lightly since we beat them twice last year.”
According to Leisey, the team wants to make improvements this weekend against Shorter and Lee.
“We want wins while getting better,” he said.
Upon returning from this short stretch away from home, the Union basketball teams will host four consecutive games.
The teams will play Mississippi College on Dec. 11, Delta State on Dec. 13, the University of West Alabama on Dec. 18 and the University of West Georgia on Dec. 20.