North­eastern Uni­ver­sity women’s bas­ket­ball players go bowling and cook team meals together. Over the past summer, each ath­lete read a book on lead­er­ship called “LEAD…For God’s Sake!”

The strong bond formed between players off the court may lead to wins on the court, says head coach Daynia La-​​Force Mann, who praises her club for devel­oping strong “team chem­istry and work ethic through team-​​bonding activities.”

The red and black will have its first chance to show off its new­found team spirit on Friday against Eastern Michigan at 1 p.m. at Solomon Court.

The Huskies, who fin­ished in 11th place in the Colo­nial Ath­letic Asso­ci­a­tion con­fer­ence last season, hope to improve by grab­bing more defen­sive rebounds. Last season, the team was out­re­bounded by an average of 7.5 boards per game.

We’re def­i­nitely going to have to box out and limit second chance points,” says team cap­tain Jamie Conroy, a 5-​​foot-​​7-​​inch guard who aver­aged 10 points, 4.3 assists and 2.2 steals per game last season. “Our defense has been very good in practice.”

The club’s four freshmen figure to make an imme­diate impact on both sides of the ball, La-​​Force Mann says.

She sin­gled out Amencie Mercer, a 5-​​foot-​​7-​​inch guard from Pier­re­fonds, Quebec, for her defen­sive play and slick passing skills. This year, the freshman was selected as a first team All-​​Star at a Cana­dian National Tournament.

She gives us a level of depth at guard that we didn’t have last year,” La-​​Force Mann says. “Playing Amencie will make Jamie more pro­duc­tive with her minutes.”

The club’s non-​​conference schedule poses a daunting chal­lenge. On Nov. 17, the Huskies will travel to Lex­ington, Ky., to play the No. 18 Ken­tucky Wildcats.

The prospect of facing one of the best teams in the nation doesn’t faze La-​​Force Mann. “We think of these games as learning tools to find out what we need to do to play at that next level,” she explains. “We can only con­trol how we play — how we box out, share the bas­ket­ball and run our offense.”

Conroy hopes to spot a couple of North­eastern fans in the rabid Wildcat crowd. “Hope­fully we’ll have some sup­port and can keep Ken­tucky fans quiet by playing well,” she says.

Her squad, she notes emphat­i­cally, has the talent to make the NCAA Tour­na­ment. “I feel con­fi­dent that we can go all the way,” Conroy says. “I can’t wait to start playing and find out how far our hard work can take us.”