SPRINGFIELD, Mo–It’s never too early to get started on preparing for the season.

Especially if you’re a new coach.

That’s the situation at Missouri State, where new Lady Bear boss Beth Cunningham is meeting her new team.

It’s late June, and sports fans are thinking more of baseball then basketball.

But for new Missouri State Lady Bear coach Beth Cunningham, basketball never ends.

“I think right now it’s a lot of teaching and learning each other and learning styles and learning systems. So it’s going to take some time. But I’ve just been pleased how open minded our kids have been,” said Cunningham.

Cunningham has been able to meet her Lady Bears this June as the team has gone through its summer workouts.

The NCAA allows limited drills as the players attend summer school.

And it’s been a perfect way for Cunningham to get a feel for her Lady Bears.

“It’s probably been about a smooth transition as I can imagine. Really pleased to have out kids on campus for summer school. It’s been great to be able to really start working out with them,” said Cunningham.

Six players return to a Missouri State Lady Bear team that’s been to three straight NCAA tournaments.

Sydney Wilson and Ifunan Nwachukwu will be the senior leaders.

Cunningham also added transfers from Colorado and Kansas along with three true freshman.

Cunningham:”I think we’ve got a great group of young ladies. And that’s obviously one of the most important thing. It’s important for us to find talent, but we just want great kids in our program. And I’ve been really pleased with the team camaraderie.”

This summer is also a chance for the new coaching staff to bond.

That includes a former Lady Bear player in Kenzie Kostas.

And a Drury Lady Panther legend in Hailey Diestelkamp who’s the director of basketball operations.

“Really excited to bring Kenzie on staff. Obviously she has a passion and love for this university…I’ve always taken a lot of pride in developing, you know, not only players but the coaches that can have success beyond. And Hailey obviously wanting to coach this is a great opportunity,” said Cunningham.

The Beth Cunningham era will tip off in November, that’s still more than four months away.

In the meantime, the work continues.

“They’ve been extremely coachable, hard working, all those intangibles and attributes that I think are so important. And then in time hopefully we’ll get there,” said Cunningham.