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BOWLING GREEN — Even though it’s only the second week of fall practice for the Bowling Green State University women’s basketball team, coach Jennifer Roos said her team is ahead of past seasons.
PHOTO GALLERY: BG women's first hoops practice
The reason is summer practices, a new rule that allows teams limited practice time during the summer months.
“The summer practices got everyone ready for the pace we needed to go,” said Roos, who is in her second season as the Falcons’ coach. “They also got used to hearing my voice and the voice of the staff.
“And in the summer they got more adjusted to working in the weight room more than anything else. Gaining strength right away, especially for the young ones, will be a big factor.”
Senior Jill Stein, one of seven returning letterwinners from last season’s 24-11 team that earned a berth in the WNIT, has noticed that the five newcomers — four freshmen along with North Carolina State transfer Erica Donovan — used the summer to get up to speed.
“We have a smaller group, and that means we’ve gotten a lot of reps,” Stein said. “I think our freshmen have already learned a lot. It really helped their learning curve, and we can put more things earlier than in the past so we’re ahead of previous years.”
The Falcons also have two new members of the coaching staff in assistants Jacey Brooks and Sahar Nusseibeh. Roos said their connection with the rest of the staff and the team has been quick.
“As soon as they were hired, I asked both of them to call each player and have a conversation with them, and I think that helped break the ice,” Roos said. “And I think the connection with the five of us on the staff has been great.
“They don’t buy me lunch as much as I buy them lunch, but maybe we’ll reach that point by Christmas.”
Roos said she also is a different coach in her second year leading the Falcons.
“I have more gray hair,” Roos said with a laugh. “Change is inevitable, and I feel having a year under my belt definitely helps.
“But I tell people you can call me an ‘old’ coach because I’m in my 21st year as a coach, or you can call me a ‘young’ coach because I’m in my second year as the head coach. I think I would prefer ‘medium’ coach.”
Stein said she thinks Roos has mixed in some “witty” sayings during practices.
“She has used some of the experiences from last year as jokes for this year,” Stein said. “She might pull out a play from last year [against one of our players] as a way to get people going.
“But more or less she has been the same enthusiastic, loud-clapping Jennifer Roos that we all know and love.”
NOTES: Freshman Leah Bolton had meniscus surgery two weeks ago and still will be out for four more weeks. Roos said Bolton may miss a few early games but expects the freshman to play the bulk of the season. … The Falcons will host Tiffin University in an exhibition game on Nov. 2 at the Stroh Center. BG’s season opener will be against Michigan on Nov. 8 in the opening round of the Iona Tip-Off Tournament.