Monday, November 2, 2020

Women's Basketball: UIS women ready to take a big leap

University of Illinois Springfield women’s basketball junior transfer Katryel Clark practiced as much as she could back home in Auburn during the coronavirus pandemic.

There was nobody else around but her sister, Karlissa, from eighth grade — a basketball player to be sure, just not in the same age group.

“I didn’t really know anyone here yet ... so me and my sister went out there and got our own work in,” Clark said. “She also plays basketball, so we went out there because there’s nothing else to do — go out and shoot and get a bunch of shots up.”

Clark returned to the college level for UIS’ first day of official practice on Oct. 15 after two seasons at Lincoln Land Community College. 

Coach Casey Thousand said building a positive culture was her biggest priority last season.

“Even though the record might not have shown it, we really got a lot out of it and we’re headed in the right direction,” Thousand said.

“We did a lot of supporting each other, team bonding and really sticking together. It was a really close group coming in, so it was kind of hard for the coaches. We had to make way and make sure that we got in the group as well, but I think by the end of the year everybody was bonded and getting together. That was really what we were striving for that first year, changing the culture and changing our drive with what we’re going with and how we’re doing things.”

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on October 30, 2020.