With players who accounted for about 70 percent of its offense and most of its rebounding gone, it might be easy for Woodland Lady Wildcat coach Colman Roberts to label this as a rebuilding year and point to the future.
But no one who knows the veteran girls basketball head coach will be surprised to hear he's setting the bar higher for this year's team.
"We don't have a whole lot of experience, but I've been preaching we're not going to make any excuses and we're not," coach Roberts said. "We were 10-14 last year and definitely would like to improve on that record."
"We've lost a lot of offense but we've got some kids who play pretty good defense," he added. "We'd like to be playing well enough at the end of the season to make a little noise, especially in the region tournament. I think we can but we've got to improve every day and quit making the same mistakes."
The key loss was Alexis Katt, the team's power forward who dominated scoring and rebounding while playing a wide open brand of ball. She scored more than 400 points and grabbed almost 200 rebounds.
Roberts said this year's team also has a lot of energy, which could help it grab wins, especially in close games.
"We have some kids on this year's roster who are young but they're wide open, too," he said.
This year's edition starts with Olivia Rutledge, a 5-foot-9-inch senior starting guard on last year's team who accounted for its second-highest point total, burning the nets for more than 200 point and had the second-highest number of rebounds.
"Olivia's a third-year starter and will be our leader," Roberts said. "She's already stepped into that role. She always plays hard. She's going to be the person we go to for offense.
"She does a lot of good things for us, but she will definitely be in a different role this year."
At power forward is Lacey Fritz, a starter last year until a broken foot ended her season around the midway point.
Lady Wildcat coaches will be looking to the 6-foot sophomore and three other players to provide the post play required to compete in Region 7-AAAA. He said Fritz, junior Jessie Michaels (5 feet, 9 inch), senior Jacqualinn Howell (5 feet, 10 inch) and junior Lauren Siniard (5 feet, 11 inch) will all play in the post.
"We'll find some post players out of that bunch right there," he said.
Lyrica Solomon, a junior, is stepping into the point guard position.
Solomon, 5 feet, 7 inch, played in 14 games last year and also played the position in summer ball, trying to prepare herself for this year's challenge.
"She grew up a little this summer," Roberts said. "She played a pretty tough schedule during the summer."
He said the position brings a lot of pressure with defenses set to create turnovers.
"She handles the ball almost the entire game, so Lyrica has to handle the ball well under pressure. That's a must out of her," he said. "We expect her to score, too. She can shoot."
Emily Moore, a 5-foot, 9-inch sophomore, has impressed Roberts with her drive.
"She played in six games last year," he said. "One thing is for sure, you'll see her when you watch her play. She is wide open and really gets after it."
She replaces Cassie Harris, who hit 32 3s last year.
He said Ashley Watkins, a senior (5 feet, 9 inches) who started for the team as a sophomore, is returning and will bring some welcome experience.
"She's back with us and she's really going to help us," he said. "She'll play a guard position (and) maybe at point, too."
Casey Bucy, a 5-foot, 6-inch junior, will contribute in the guard and post positions.
"We expect her to know both positions and she does a good job at both," Robert said. "She played in 20 games last year as a sophomore."
He said another contributor will be sophomore Kennedy Robinson.
"She's another kid who's getting better every day," the coach said. "We're trying to get her to be a little more aggressive. She's a guard. We may ask her to play a little post, too."
He added that also getting playing time will be Brooke Hummel, a 5-foot, 7-inch freshman point guard.
"We threw her to the fire during the summer, as an eighth-grader," he said. "She showed signs that she's going to be a good one."
Roberts said a key for the Lady Wildcats will be how much they can improve their offensive efficiency during the season.
"We turn the ball over way too much," he said. "We definitely have to improve on turnovers."