Basketball season is underway, but the hottest ticket you can get isn’t the Dallas Mavericks. Check out your Collin College Cougars and Lady Cougars at home or on the road, as they make a run for a conference title and beyond.

Admission is free for students, faculty and staff, and just $3 for general admission for anyone else you want to bring.  

Winning 26 games overall last year, the Lady Cougars went 13-1 in their conference en route to their second conference title in as many years. Collin’s women’s team finished the 2015-16 season ranked 12th in the nation among junior colleges.

Women’s Coach Jeff Allen said the team is returning two starters from last year – point guard Tree Brooks and power forward Zhanae Whitney.

“We are expecting them to feed off of last season and to continue to get better, and to provide the leadership we need,” Allen said. “It’s a new team. We are trying to figure out what we do best, work on those things and kind of grow from there.”

Allen said he believes the team will gel by the time conference play rolls around in January. He noted that there are high expectations after being back-to-back conference champions.

“We do kind of have a target on our back, and there is a level we have to play (to continue winning),” he said. “Everybody is going to have to contribute. A lot of the new players have all stepped up at some point. It’s going to be a collective effort this year.”

Collin College's Boaz Williams dunks on visiting Murray State during the Collin Thanksgiving Classic, Nov. 25-26.

Collin College’s Boaz Williams dunks on visiting Murray State during the Collin Thanksgiving Classic, Nov. 25-26.

Both the men’s and women’s teams are in rebuilding phases this year, with the Cougar Men’s team bringing back only one player with significant playing time last year – wing Trevonta Robertson. Robertson is currently the team’s leading scorer. Three other students who were redshirted last year will also return, adding some non-game experience.

The team also got a transfer from Lamar University, Boaz Williams, who shot 40 percent from the arc in Division I. Freshmen make up the bulk of the team.

“We’ve got a young group, but they have been improving from the start. Our goal is just to improve and get better because what really counts is when you get to conference,” Men’s Coach Jim Sigona said. “We are just trying to get our guys playing together, and hopefully we are playing our best guys in January and February.”

Both coaches have their eyes set on conference play.

“Any conference game is a big game,” Allen said. “The conference is really up from last year.”

Collin students, faculty and staff are encouraged to attend as many games as possible, especially showing their support in January and February.

Want to catch a game? Check out the women’s schedule here and the men’s schedule here. The teams have a non-conference double-header starting at 2 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 10 at Spring Creek Campus. The women’s team kicks things off with a game against Murray State.  Collin’s men’s team takes the floor at 4 p.m. against Mountain View Community College.