Brionna Budgetts

Missouri Western’s Women's Basketball team finished their season 24-7 on March 3. With a conference record of 18-4, it is clear to see the Griffons are establishing a well known program across the board under Head Coach Candi Whitaker. 

“We had a lot of returners, a lot of continuity from last year to this year” said Whitaker.

With a roster of six juniors and a senior this year and having only losing three seniors last year, the Griffons were able to keep the team’s dynamic in shape and found a consistent rhythm throughout the season. Missouri Western started the season 2-2, but the team wasn’t worried and understood the tough schedule they had against them. 

“We’re starting off at the top and it’s okay if you don’t win it. It’s what you learn and how you get better from that,” said Whitaker.

The positive aspect and family orientation behind this team was a clear drive all season. 

“One thing about this team is we love to compete, especially in practice,” said junior Brionna Budgetts. “We do a lot of ups and downs, learning each other's strengths and weaknesses to help improve our game on the floor during games.”

Budgetts was awarded 2023 all-MIAA First Team, averaged 16.9 points this season and was a constant leader for the Griffons, on and off the court. 

Rather than focusing on a set end of season goal, part of Missouri Western’s success in the past few seasons has come from the constant goal of giving your full effort and giving your team your all.

“Our main goals with each other is giving it your all." said Budgetts “Motivate each other, staying positive all the time, no matter what we’re going through as a team, just winning.”

“We didn’t set a ton of external goals as far as measuring success." said Whitaker "Our main goal was to show up everyday ready to learn and get better and bring it.”

After two very successful back-to-back seasons, Whitaker is ready for the next and has high hopes for the future. 

“I think next year can be a very special year, I do.” said Whitaker. “We have the same kids that went to the elite eight and have the same kids that understood how they got left out of the NCAA tournament… We signed some great talent early and we’re onto some great talent late that I think can take us to another level as well.”

Recommended for you