Lacking height, young Titans rely on team defense, youth

New UDM women’s basketball coach Bernard Scott knows he has to put in a lot of hard work.

Every day at practice, he literally wears a red hard hat to emphasize the point.

His task isn’t made any easier by the fact that he now has only nine players on his roster.

Redshirt junior point guard Rosie Reynolds, a Horizon league second-team selection last year, is returning after an injury-plagued season in which she averaged 15.7 points per game.

Scott knows she has to be an X-factor if the Titans want to be successful.

Reynolds, a pre-season first-team pick, will start at the two for the Red, White and Blue, being a focal point of offense.

The Titans lack size and will have to play a lot of team defense as they have no players over six feet.

Their line-up will look to shoot a lot of three pointers.Leading the team from downtown will be Nicole Urbanick. The sophomore shot 35.8 percent from behind the arc last year, third best last year. 

Reynolds also will be key from downtown. She led the team in three-point field goal percentage with 37.8.

The Titans return guard/forward Haleigh Ristovski, who averaged 9.4 points and led the league in assist-to-turnover ratio with a 2.5. Her 7.1 rebounds per game also were best on the team.

Ristovski’s play embodies the “hard work” style that Scott is trying to make a staple of Detroit women’s basketball.

Also in the junior class is Lizzy Connors, who was injured a good amount last season but is back and ready to go in 2015-16.

With lots of roster turnover between this season and last, Scott will have to look to the sophomores and freshmen to step up and play major minutes.

Scott will be depending on Chea Taylor and Brianne Cohen, a pair of six-footers to guard the paint. 

Lola Ristovski, a freshman and sister of Haleigh, will be looked at to step-up early.

The younger Ristovski, an all-state team selection as a junior, made a deep run in the state tournament every year of her high school career. She has the ability to shoot from deep and drive into the paint and make plays.

She is joined by Brittney Jackson, a New York state champion as a senior. Jackson, an undersized guard, will start at the point early in the season.

The third freshman is six-foot forward Taylor Malone from Chicago. She was a two-time city champion.

The Titans are expected to be in the middle of the Horizon League pack.

In the pre-season media poll, they were picked to finish seventh out of the ten teams.

After falling to the Michigan Wolverines Sunday, the Titans will be heading to Maryland this week for a Friday game against the nationally ranked Terrapins.