Belton, Texas – The 2017-18 edition of the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor women’s basketball team will hit the floor for its season opener this Thursday (November 16th) at the Mayborn Campus Center. The Cru will play host to Texas Lutheran University for a 7:00 PM start in the official season opener for both teams that night.

UMHB welcomes back nine letter winners and three starters this season after finishing with an 18-9 overall record and a 10-6 mark in American Southwest Conference play. The Cru advanced to the Semifinals of the ASC Championship Tournament before falling to eventual conference champion U.T.-Dallas. UMHB has three returning players who earned ASC All-West Division honors last season. F Haven Neal and G Meghan Turner were both named Honorable Mention All-West Division and G Kendall Rollins claimed West Division Freshman of the Year honors. Neal (Sr., Farmersville) 5.4 points and 3.9 rebounds per game last year and she shot 58 percent from the field. Turner (Sr., Midlothian) led the Cru with 112 assists and averaged 5.4 points per contest. Rollins (So., Fulshear) put up 9.1 points and 4.2 rebounds per contest. UMHB will also be able to put the defending ASC East Division Freshman of the Year on the floor. G Hannah Holt (So., Lumberton) transferred from East Texas Baptist, where she averaged 14.8 points and 4.4 rebounds per game for the Tigers last season. The Cru was picked to win the West Division in the ASC’s annual Preseason Coaches and Media Poll and is led by third-year Head Coach Mark Morefield.

“I think the ladies are ready to go and we are excited to get out there and see how ready we really are and to compete,” Morefield said. “The month of practice we have had has been quality, now we get a chance to go out there and see how well we can execute what we have been working on for so long. It is important to get started on the right foot and we are hoping we have a chance to do that at home Thursday night.”

Texas Lutheran finished 21-6 overall and went 12-2 in Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference play. The Bulldogs lost an exhibition game at Division I Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 87-56 last week in a game that does not count in TLU’s record. Thursday’s game is the only home date for the Cru women in November. UMHB will hit the road for five straight games after taking on the Bulldogs.