Lady Bulldogs - The culture
Updated: Jan 22
By Logan Lassley
For The Southwestern
Sports come with a lot of cliché sayings. If you walk into a locker room you may hear, “We are a family,” “Hard work leads to success,” or “Records are made to be broken.”
These sayings are usually tools for coaches to attempt to inspire their players to perform at their highest level, but for the SWOSU Women’s Basketball team, these can all be used in the past tense.
Coach Kelsi Musick arrived at SWOSU before the 2009 season and got off to a slow start, going just 3-24 in her first season coaching the Bulldogs. This start did not last long as Musick has coached the Bulldogs to six 20-win seasons, two Great American Conference championships and four NCAA tournament appearances. What may be more impressive, though, is the culture surrounding her teams.
“Coach Musick and Coach Anderson, they make you feel like you are supposed to be here, that they want you here and its very genuine in that aspect,” senior forward Bethany Franks said. “The girls that were already here were very welcoming, Hayden Priddy was very welcoming. It was also nice to see a lot of familiar faces that I have played with and against before.”
Hayden Priddy was a senior on the team at the time. That year, she went on to help lead the team to a 35-2 overall record, finishing as the Division II runner-up national champions and taking home the Jim Thorpe Oklahoma Athlete of the Year award.
“We lost the first game of the year to Emporia State. Hailey (Tucker) came in and hit the stall and said ‘we are not losing for the rest of the year.’ At first I didn’t believe it but, then we didn’t lose. It was crazy to win that many games in a row.”
Taber Beer, a senior guard who hit a game winning shot during the tournament run, credits the winning season to a winning mentality.
“Since I got here, we’ve been driven with a winning mentality. Don’t play to lose. Play to win. After a while, because it is kind of hard to get to that point, but once you get there, I think it continues for the rest of the time.”
“Once I got here, that was something I knew. SWOSU basketball - we go out and we win games. We do practice hard and preseason is hard, but I think going through all of those things and getting through those things make you want to win even more. Why go through all of that stuff that’s so hard and then not get the dub at the end of the day? Just the growing aspect you go through is worth the win.”
This run was the last stop for Priddy and Hailey Tucker, the teams two leading scorers though.
“You’re never going to replace Hailey and Hayden. They were greats in SWOSU Women’s Basketball, but I don’t think it was filling their shoes,” senior guard Maddie Sperle said. “The three of us knew we had to step up. The other people on the team had to step up from replacing the two of them so it wasn’t about filling, it was about finding what our new role was.”
The Lady Bulldogs commence their season at the start of the new year, playing a shortened season due to COVID restrictions, as they look to carry on the winning nature surrounding the team.