Molly Miller only knew how to win at Division II Drury.
She is bringing that same mentality to Grand Canyon University in her first year coaching Division I college basketball.
Her young team, led by Missouri Gatorade High School Girls Basketball Player of the Year Katie Scott, is picked to finish third by the coaches and sixth by the media in the Western Athletic Conference.
But that doesn’t phase Miller, who was a two-time Division II Coach of the Year.
“We hope we can turn some heads in the WAC,” Miller said Thursday during the virtual WAC media day. “Hopefully we can make a splash. TBD (to be determined) on where we end up, you know.
“I think it is a great challenge and a great opportunity for our kids.”
Miller went 180-17 in her eight years at her alma mater Drury in Springfield, Mo., the highest winning percentage for any NCAA D. II coach.
She inherits a team from Nicole Powell that went 15-12 and 10-6 in the WAC.
Other than two graduate students, the rest of the roster is filled with underclassmen, including the true freshman Scott.
“It would be a different situation if we had an established coach (already at GCU),” said Scott, who had originally committed to Drury to play for Miller. “Everyone here had a brand new coach, a brand new system. We’re all forced into a situation where we’re all learning something brand new together. I think that has strengthened those bonds between us.
“We’ve all had to do some major adjusting. It’s been uncomfortable. But we’ve grown through it. We’ve become stronger people, stronger players. It’s shown on the court. If you would have compared us from June to now, it’s been day and night.”
Miller was used to bringing in new players every year at Drury. Now she is adjusting to all players she had not coached before.
“It’s exciting for me,” Miller said. “I get this renewed sense of energy. You have to bring the freshmen along.
“It’s making me a better coach. I’ve got to get everybody on the same page. … Like Katie said, everyone is kind of a freshman right now. But it’s fun for me. But also challenges me in new ways to get my messaging across. We’ll stop things more than normal. We’re more focused on specific details.”
Defense is always emphasized by Miller, who wants her players to be aggressive.
“I’ve opened their eyes to a whole new style, to really get after it,” she said. “Be aggressive. Be a huge impact, not only on the offensive end, but the defensive end.
“It’s fun to see the buy-in. My teams in the past have loved the defensive play more than the offensive play. You’ll see my bench erupt on a charge. Don’t get me wrong, we all like an and-one, and a 3-point splash.
“But when we’re getting steals and buckets and we’re rotating on traps and we’re there for charges and we’re making hustle plays with a tip from behind, getting our hands on a loose ball, that really excites us.”
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