For the first time since its state semifinal run, the Coppell girls basketball team plays on its own court.
On Tuesday, the Cowgirls defeated Byron Nelson, 63-48, at CHS Arena in its home opener. The Cowgirls established a lead in the first quarter that extended throughout the rest of the night–only wavering for a brief moment when both teams were tied 12-12 in the second quarter but Coppell maintained a sizable lead from then on.
The game was one of back-and-forth fouls and free throws, with 16 team fouls from Byron Nelson, 24 from Coppell and a total of 49 attempted free throws from both teams.
According to Coppell coach Ryan Murphy, the team was aggressive defensively throughout the game, naturally causing them to pick up more fouls. Moving forward, Murphy said the Cowgirls will focus on becoming more disciplined with fouls, as some of the charges were from late rotations and reaches.
Three games into its season, one of the primary challenges Coppell works to overcome its pressure following last year’s successful season. According to Murphy, the pressure experienced by some players has contributed to a rising mentality among the team, affecting their play.
“There’s a mentality [on the team] of wanting to play perfectly, but there’s no such thing as a perfect game,” Murphy said. “It’s just about being consistent and doing the little things, so we focused better in the third quarter but got tired and lost that focus.”
Murphy said the team is doing a better job of taking that approach, but is still working on differentiating itself from last year’s team.
“At the end of the day, talent is not what made us successful,” Murphy said. “It’s the culture—the way we do things, playing for each other, being scrappy and playing hard. So our message to the players was to go out there and fight, compete and make the culture better, then everything else will fall into place.”
The Cowgirls play at Sachse tonight at 6 p.m. Prior to facing the Mustangs, Coppell looks to work on finishing their shots and layups.
“We have things to work on but the positive thing is after each game this year; We’re talking about new things,” Murphy said. “So that tells us that we’re getting better and trending in the right direction.”
Follow Ava (@avakjohnson4) and @SidekickSports on X.