Women’s basketball begins 15th season on Friday

The OLLU women’s basketball program surges into its 15th season on Friday with an exhibition at Sam Houston State. The Saints play a second exhibition on Nov. 7 on the road against the University of the Incarnate Word.

OLLU hosts Texas Wesleyan University (6-4) on Nov. 10 in the OLLU Halo Classic to open regular season play. 

Head Coach Tanya Ray will look to build after her first season and welcomes Candice Chaney as her new assistant coach.

The Saints finished the 2022-2023 season with a 15-13 overall record and a 12-8 mark in the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC). OLLU ranked in the NAIA top five by limiting opponents’ three-point percentage to 23.1 percent. The Saints qualified for the conference postseason tournament and lost to Xavier University of Louisiana in the quarterfinals to end the season.

The Saints return three seniors and one graduate student. The senior class includes Carrie Barrera-Lacy, Ariadna Gallardo and Cormia Lewis. Deja Williams joins the group from Eastern Oklahoma State College. Tiffany Lopez and Lorena Ramirez will play as graduate students, and both are the longest-tenured athletes on the team. Lopez was named to the RRAC All-Conference Second Team last season. Lewis and Ramirez were Daktronics-NAIA Scholar Athletes the previous year.

Julissa Garza is back for her junior year, while Hailee Brandon and Kalista Niu arrive in San Antonio as transfers. Brandon played at Dawson Community College, while Niu competed at Central Wyoming College. Jillian Torres starts her second year, joined by Deja Hinson from Cisco College.