RADFORD, Va. – "This year's more about us and us getting better. I don't want to get the February and feel like we're not getting better," Radford women's head coach Mike McGuire said.
The Radford Highlanders are riding a recent wave of success under the direction of the fifth-year coach.
"In our recruiting process, he said that he was trying to change the program, so he's been a man of his word and he's changed the program and helped us become a successful team," senior forward Janayla White said.
During his tenure, McGuire has guided Radford to a Big South regular season title -- its first in 25 years -- and two WNIT appearances. But the success didn't come overnight.
"One thing I wanted to make sure we did was take our time and lay the foundation and try to build the program into what we thought was the right way," McGuire said.
"We weren't looking for a quick fix."
Radford has plenty of offensive talent, including Jayda Worthy, who joined the 1,000 points club this season. But they pride themselves on their play at the opposite end of the floor, where they've ranked among the best in the nation for the past two seasons.
"Coach McGuire always says we need our grit on defense and we can always rely on our defense to get us through," Worthy said.
"And we know you have to push harder and give your all on defense, and then your offense will come."
Much of the Highlanders' success starts at home at the Dedmon Center. They haven't lost there since January of 2015, and with a win on Tuesday night, they could break the school record for consecutive home wins at 22.
"We wanted this to be a place we took a lot of pride in. We think this is a tough place to play, a tough venue to beat us in," McGuire said.
"I think once our lady's got comfortable playing here, now they just take pride in playing here."
With a foundation of success and a clear direction, the Highlanders are poised to reach new heights this season.