Local Sports

January 11, 2013

In the Saddle — Coach Jennifer Hayden

— In her first season at the helm of the Drover women’s basketball team, Coach Jennifer Hayden and her team are off to a solid season going into a tough conference.

“We’re off to a pretty good start. Overall, we’ve been happy,” she said. “We have quite a few new faces, and that’s where the non-conference has been very beneficial for us.”

The Drovers returned four players this season. The team saw success in non-conference, but entering play with some of the nation’s top teams have resulted in down to the wire games — including a final-second battle against then-No. 14 Rogers State.

“In our conference, there are no easy games,” Hayden said. “We have to come prepared to play every single night. We have to have everyone prepared to play every single night.”

Having started her basketball career in Oklahoma playing for Oklahoma Panhandle State, Hayden traveled through various coaching positions around the country, settling at Sul Ross State in Texas before accepting her position at USAO.

Hayden said USAO was a good fit for her, both in its mission and its location closer to family.

“It was very interesting to me. It was a very good fit for me and for my family,” she said. “During the interview process, Coach McPherson had really stressed that not only athletics are important, winning is important, but also academics are important and graduation is important, and those are things that fit in personally with me.”

Drover fans can watch the interview with Coach Jennifer Hayden at 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. Friday on local Channel 18.

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