Basketball season is in full swing, and the Lady Bears aren't the only top-10 women's basketball team in Central Texas.
UMHB's women's basketball team is off to a record-setting start for the 2018-19 season, and they're ranked 7th in the nation to show for it.
The Crusaders' 14-1 start is the best in program history.
Head coach Mark Morefield said his team was inspired from last season's American Southwest Conference Tournament Championship game loss to East Texas Baptist.
The final score of that game was 71-70.
"Being that close of a game in a one-point loss, that's left a sour taste in their mouths that they don't want and that goes to our upperclassmen," Morefield said.
His players said they reflect that sentiment.
"From last year to this year, after going to the conference championship, we wanted to start off strong," Junior guard Alicia Blackwell said.
The Cru's core is comprised of energized juniors keeping team energy high for this season and next. Their experience shows: With an ASC leading 19 assists per game, it's evident the UMHB women have strong fundamentals.
"That's the biggest thing that's kind of clicked," Morefield said. "We have so many types of weapons that can be on the floor at the same time, but those players putting aside themselves for the good of the team and I think that's the biggest thing."
In addition to the constant ball movement on the offensive side of the floor, the Cru have a stifling defense, again showcasing their fundamentals.
"It's been an exciting season and it's been a season that's been enjoyable and the girls are starting to see some of their hard work pay off for them," Morefield said.
UMHB has heart and hustle as well, proven by the fact they lead the ASC in offensive rebounds.
"I knew we were going to be something this year like, we weren't just going to be 'eh' I knew we were going to be special," sophomore guard Hannah Holt said. "I'm really excited with how this season has been going so far."
The lone bump in the road this season came against No. 2 Thomas More, a program which has made national championship and Final Four runs.
Morefield said the loss was a learning moment for his team.
"Sometimes you've got to see it to see, feel it, what it takes to win at that highest of level," Morefield said.
The Cru have just 10 games left this season, all against ASC West division opponents.
There are two home games left in January: One game at 5:30 p.m. Thursday against Hardin-Simmons University, while the other is 1 p.m. Saturday against McMurry University.