DILLON — All in all, Britt Cooper said that her new role as head coach of the program she won a national championship with in 2019 doesn't feel dramatically different than last season, when she was an assistant under Lindsay Woolley.
"The girls know me. I didn't have to do a bunch of change with that," said Cooper. "The role is a little bit different, kind of be a little bit harder on them. But overall it's about the same."
Cooper's predecessor — who guided the Montana Western women's basketball team for 11 seasons, including a national tournament quarterfinal run last season — departed the program last summer and is now an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for Utah State women's basketball.
Shortly after, Cooper was handed the reins. The in-house hire seemed like a no-brainer considering the depth of her knowledge with the Bulldogs as both a player and coach.
A week into the preseason, that staffing decision is paying off.
The Bulldogs have rolled to a 3-0 start, their best run through the first three games of a season since 2019-20. Western has posted wins against College of Idaho, Bushnell University (Ore.) and Dickinson State, all at home.
"It meant the world, the girls worked their butts off out there," said Cooper of the season-opening win against the Yotes. "It's good to see them come out with that energy and keep it rolling."
Western graduated Mesa King and All-American Brynley Fitzgerald after last season and, three games into this 2023-24 campaign, has seen seniors Jordan Sweeney and Shainy Mack emerge as early scoring leaders.
"Jordan Sweeney's been a big part of our team last year and this year," said Cooper. "She's stepping up a lot for us, kind of helping fill that void."
Western will play all but one of the remainder of its preseason games on the road. The Bulldogs' lone remaining home game in 2023 will be December 16 against Briercrest College.