SPRINGFIELD, Mo — When the Missouri State Lady Bears take the court next week for their first exhibition, they will do so with a mixture of new and familiar faces.

“They are more than just my teammates, they are my best friends, my sisters,” Lady Bears guard Sydney Wilson said. “I’m excited to do one last round with them.”

Sydney Wilson returns for her fifth season as a Lady Bear and although a lower leg injury has her sidelined for a portion of preseason, she says she should be ready during nonconference play.

“I’m definitely one who hates to sitting out of basketball, like sitting on the side,” Wilson said. “I’m just like, ugh, I just want to get back in. I’m taking every day to get better and I’ll be back soon.”

Joining her are Taylor Woodhouse, sharpshooters Paige Rocca and Isabelle Delarue.

“It’s a craft that you really have to put work into,” Delarue said. “My coaches stress that they need a good shooter and they need someone to step up and that’s a role I want to be able to do and play for our team.”

And Ifunanya Nwachukwu, the lone returning post player.

“I knew my team needed me and I needed to step up in a bigger role,” Nwachukwu said. “I think that is what I am also doing this season. Stepping up and doing my part for my team.”

As for the newcomers it starts at the top, as Beth Cunningham leads the charge with a Princeton offense.

“People always ask me if I am nervous before games, I am anxious to play, but I feel like if I am prepared I’m not nervous,” Cunningham said. “That’s how I want them to feel. I want them to feel confident because they are prepared.”

With seven newcomers at her disposal. Including former Kickapoo star Indya Green, who transferred in from Moberly area Community College.

“I always wished that one day I could come in and wear the jersey and be a part of this team,” Green said. “Now that I get to do that it’s just a great feeling for me.”

It’s ready or not time for Missouri State. In less than 2 weeks, it’s the season and home opener.

Against none other than rival Mizzou.

“I’m looking forward to the atmosphere, I know it will be great here, “Cunningham said. “Obviously it’s a big rivalry game, but you try to look at it as any other game.”

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