Brian Boyer's lineups and styles of play changed so often last season that the nickname for the Arkansas State University women's basketball team might as well have been the chameleons.
Boyer, who is entering his 19th year as coach, started last season with a ball-screening offense until he lost freshman point guard Tayton Hopkins to a season-ending ACL tear against Iowa State.
ASU women’s schedule
Nov. 11;at Indiana;1 p.m.
Nov. 14;at Florida;6 p.m.
Nov. 17;at South Florida;6 p.m.
Nov. 21;Tenn.-Martin;7 p.m.
Nov. 25;at Pittsburgh;5 p.m.
Nov. 30;Tennessee State;7 p.m.
Dec. 2;at Mississippi;3 p.m.
Dec. 5;Texas-El Paso;5 p.m.
Dec. 14;Belmont;11:30 a.m.
Dec. 16;Grambling State;7 p.m.
Dec. 22;at Tulsa;1 p.m.
Dec. 29;La.-Monroe*;5 p.m.
Dec. 31;La.-Lafayette*;1 p.m.
Jan. 4;at Georgia Southern*;4 p.m.
Jan. 6;at Georgia State*;11 a.m.
Jan. 11;Texas State*;5 p.m.
Jan. 13;Texas-Arlington*;3 p.m.
Jan. 20;at UALR*;3 p.m.
Jan. 25;at Coastal Carolina*;4 p.m.
Jan. 27;at Appalachian State*;12 p.m.
Feb. 1;Georgia State*;5 p.m.
Feb. 3;Georgia Southern*;3 p.m.
Feb. 8;at Troy*;5 p.m.
Feb. 10;at South Alabama*;1 p.m.
Feb. 17;UALR*;3 p.m.
Feb. 22;Appalachian State*;5 p.m.
Feb. 24;Coastal Carolina*;3 p.m.
March 1;at La.-Lafayette*;5 p.m.
March 3;at La.-Mornoe*;noon
*Sun Belt game
ASU 2017-18 women’s basketball roster
ASU then went more dribble-drive until junior guard Akasha Westbrook had season-ending surgery after she injured her toe against South Florida.
That forced Boyer to draw up more outside shots for sophomore guard Jada Ford, who led the team with 12.9 points per game before she injured her elbow against Appalachian State and missed 11 conference games.
ASU finished the season 7-25 -- its worst winning percentage (.219) since the program began play in 1974.
"I've never gone through a year where you felt constantly as a coach that you were scrambling," said Boyer, who had previously led ASU to three consecutive 20-victory seasons. "Every time we'd have an injury, we'd adjust. It'd be, 'OK, now we're back on track,' then we'd lose somebody else, and we'd have to adjust again. I changed the emphasis of our offense three times. I'm not sure I've changed it three times in my career."
The team managed to beat No. 6 seed Georgia State 61-54 in the first round of the conference tournament, which offered some proof the team had not reached an all-time low.
"The fact that we were able to get a win in the Sun Belt tournament," Boyer said, "it showed the players continued to improve."
This year, with ASU picked sixth in the Sun Belt's preseason poll, Boyer hopes for more consistency in his lineups.
"We're going back more to a motion offense team," he said. "I like the versatility of this group, and we'll try to utilize it as much as we can."
Both Hopkins and Westbrook were awarded redshirts due to their injuries, and the two guards will provide the speed in Boyer's motion offense, which tries to force defenses out of position with spacing and movement.
Senior forward Lauren Bradshaw returns as one of the few players to play in every game last season. She averaged 6.6 points and 6.9 rebounds per game, and her 56 blocks were the 67th most in Division I. She needs nine blocks to break the ASU career block record set by Adrianne Davie from 2004-2007.
Bradshaw attempted just one three-point shot last season, but she said she has been working on her outside game so she can be more effective when sophomore forward Madison Heckert (3.4 points per game, .21.2 percent three-point percentage) is playing at the same time.
"If she has a mismatch, that would leave me on the outside," Bradshaw said.
ASU finished the exhibition portion of its season 2-0 after a 73-63 victory over Lyon College on Tuesday night, and the Red Wolves will play at Indiana on Saturday.
Sports on 11/09/2017
Print Headline: Boyer aims to stabilize Red Wolves