Women's basketball gets an early start

Cardinals practicing at 5 a.m. weekdays

BEAUMONT, Texas – These Lamar Cardinals are definitely early birds.

The Lamar University women's basketball team will have weekday practices at 5 a.m. at McDonald Gym as it gears up for the 2013-14 season that starts on Nov. 8 at Oklahoma State. The predawn practice sessions were necessitated by the class schedules of the student-athletes.

"We have a couple of players who aren't morning persons, but they'll adjust," Lamar coach Robin Harmony said.

Harmony was happy with how the team's first practice went.

"The kids picked things up quickly," she said. "We were excited to see how everybody would work together, and we were pleased with what we saw."

Harmony, who replaced Larry Tidwell after six seasons at Lamar, said the team is upbeat.

"It's a new start for everybody," she said. "It's a clean slate. Everybody has a new opportunity."

The Cardinals will have a three-days-on, one-day-off practice regimen throughout the preseason. Harmony hopes that routine will keep the players fresh.

"We expect them to work hard for three days and then rest on that fourth day," she said. "That way when they come back to practice, they'll be refreshed and ready."

The new LU coach will emphasize the basics at practice.

"We're going to emphasize the fundamentals," Harmony said. "It's something we are going to work on every day."

The Cardinals return eight letterwinners and three starters (Gia Ayers, Dominique Edwards and Alice Robinson) from last season's team that went 22-11 and advanced to the second round of the Women's Basketball Invitational. Lamar starts the preseason with 13 players on its roster.

"I wish we had a little more depth," Harmony said. "I'd like to have 15 players, but we're going to be OK."