Cooper used a tough early schedule to prepare team for a long conference season.
The Flying Queens opened the 2022-23 season with a win over University of the Southwest, 91-51 on October 27 and a month later, after a tough non-conference schedule, the team stands at 5-3 overall and 1-1 in Sooner Athletic Conference (SAC) play.
The team’s schedule featured a scrimmage against NCAA Div. I powerhouse Texas and a Thanksgiving Classic in Pueblo, CO., playing two NCAA Div. II teams. Sandwiched in between were two SAC contests against University of North Texas – Dallas and Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU).
Here’s Coach Cooper’s take on the early season challenge:
“We have played a tough pre-conference schedule in hopes that it would prepare us for a long and grueling conference season. We want to win every game, that goes without saying, but we need to play good teams that will challenge us.
“We’ve lost three games to three good teams. Hardin Simmons University is the preseason pick to win their conference and will make the national tournament. CSU-Pueblo is picked second in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) and will win 20 games and make the national tourney in NCAA Div. II. Although we lost a conference game to the University of North Texas-Dallas, and there are no excuses, that crew is undefeated on the season. So, I’d say we’ve been in some early battles for sure.
“I feel like we are ready for this five-game stretch to finish out the first semester. Our goal is to go 5-0 in this stretch and get back on track for another conference championship.”
The #11 Flying Queens continue SAC conference play with two games at home against Southwest Christian University on Thursday, Dec. 1 and a Saturday showdown against #23 Mid-American Christian University on Dec. 3.
L-R: The Queens pose with their 2022 SAC championship rings after a ring ceremony prior to the 2022-23 season opener against the University of the Southwest on Oct. 27. Photo on the right features Flying Queens post Kynnan Shields shooting a Colorado State University – Pueblo defender. Shields led the Queens in scoring with 12 points in the game that the Queens dropped, 56-77.