HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Joy Lee-McNelis is not hiding the facts when it comes to her Lady Eagles basketball squad.
She did not take long in describing the state of the team during Wednesday's media day at Reed Green Coliseum.
"This team is definitely going to be a work in progress," Lee-McNelis said.
Her opening statement was filled with pure honesty. With early physical setbacks to key players and a change in offensive scheme, USM women's basketball is certainly facing some challenges.
"The one thing that I would ask is to be patient as we try to put the pieces together of trying to play without any size," Lee-McNelis added in front of the group of media and fans.
Aside from a couple six footers down low, the Lady Eagles will be guard heavy, forcing a switch to a motion offense. The hiring of former Valdosta State head coach Kiley Hill will ease this transition.
Lee-McNelis said one can expect to see lineups that feature four and five guards.
"Fortunately coach Kiley Hill, one of my new assistants that came from Valdosta State University, has run the motion offense extensively throughout his career," Lee-McNelis said. "We're working diligently and have been all summer to put pieces of that in so it will be difficult for opponents to number one, to scout us. So we can spread the floor, open up driving lanes and use our quickness to the advantage."
While Lee-McNelis and Hill handle schemes from the sidelines, Brittany Dinkins will look to lead the way through her energy and focus.
The senior guard not only spoke a good game Wednesday but looked like a player ready for a leading role.
"Everywhere you go, you leave your foot print," Dinkins said. "And for me, I focus in on wanting to be one of the best leaders to ever lead a Lady Eagles basketball team."
Dinkins is USM's leading returning scorer, having put up 10.8 points a game last season.
"Her vocal leadership on the floor is absolutely unbelievable and that has to be a mainstay as a part of her game," Lee-McNelis said. "It has to be."
Though a work in progress is how the Lady Eagles are starting out, Dinkins is looking to end the process with hardware.
"My goal, to answer your question, is to do something that has never been done under coach McNelis," she said. "And that is to win a championship."