“To give you a little summary on our team, we’re going to be a little different,” Detroit Mercy women’s head basketball coach Bernard Scott said on media day as he began to talk about his Titan team. Rosanna Reynolds, who had been the face of the team, graduated and is now playing professionally for the Calendonia Pride in the Women’s British Basketball League (WBBL). Haleigh Rist0vski and Kelsey Mitchell, two other key players, also finished their college careers. However, Scott is very excited about what his team can do this upcoming season with his group of returning players and newcomers.
At the top of the list of returning Titans is senior forward Brianne Cohen, who was Horizon League Sixth Player of the Year and then All-Horizon League Second Team in the last two seasons respectively. Cohen is the top returning scorer with a 15.2 average from last season and led the Horizon League in field goal percentage. As a senior, she is one of the holdovers from the previous head coach, Autumn Rademacher, but has played a pivotal role in the Titans continuous improvement in the first two seasons under Scott, including last season’s trip to the Horizon League championship game.
“Last season set a tone for this year because we know what we’re capable of and where we can be at the end of the season and what we need to do to win those types of games, like championships Cohen said.”
The other returning starters are senior guard Nicole Urbanek, only 36 three pointers away from the career record in the program, and junior guard Gracie Roberts, hailing from New Zealand.
One of Scott’s trademarks as a head coach has been instilling a family atmosphere, which has offered a refreshing outlook for the players, and it’s shown on the court as the Titans have had two straight winning seasons since Scott was hired in 2015.
“Our team chemistry is very close,” sophomore guard/forward Zoey Otis said. “We’re a very close-knit team. So that makes it easier for us to play on the court.”
“Ever since I got here, he has preached about having a family environment,” Roberts said. “Everyone looks out for each other. The coaches look out for us, we look out for the coaches, and our team is really tight; always there for one another, on the court, off the court and it’s just make everyone feel at home because we have a few internationals, me included. It’s just good to have such a tight unit.”
Among the other international players on the team are Cohen and sophomore guard, Anja Marinkovic, both Canadians, along with Aiora Rivas Preciado, a freshman guard from Spain.
“I saw first the videos of basketball and the schedule and I was impress with that team,” Rivas Preciado said about choosing Detroit Mercy.
Another one of the incoming freshman is Lexey Tobel, who Scott mentioned someone who has surprised him by how well she’s already coming along and can help the Titans realize their goal of winning the Horizon League. Tobel is aided by her experience winning multiple district titles and a regional title at Hartland High.
“You never get used to playing in a championship game because it’s all the jitters, the whole vibe of it, definitely playing at Hartland and being in so many of those situations, it will be easier to adjust even though it’s going to be different because it is college basketball and high school, but it will help me prepare for it,” Tobel said.
The Titans were picked fifth in this season’s Horizon League Pre-Season poll behind defending champion Green Bay, Wright State, Oakland and Milwaukee, but Scott plans on exceeding those expectations and build upon last season’s Horizon League championship game appearance.
“We don’t like teasers, so we plan on getting back and winning it” Scott said. “That’s our plan. That’s our goal every year.”
The Titans have some big non-conference opponents coming to Calihan Hall including Michigan, Michigan State, and Toledo. Their first regular season home game will be against Bowling Green on Monday, November 13 at 11am for Kids Day.