But sometimes the deck gets stacked a little higher before the opening tip-off.
Saturday afternoon at Anderson Arena in Bowling Green, Ohio, the Bowling Green State women's basketball team received their conference championship rings and hung their banners celebrating their fourth consecutive MAC championship. It was the home opener, so excitement was high.
Add in the fact that Bowling Green State had opened the season with two losses for the first time in 12 years and the mountain was virtually insurmountable.
That was the situation the Lipscomb Lady Bisons faced. Despite a close first half, the Lady Bisons fell 71-52.
At 16:41 of the first half the Lady Bisons took their only lead in the game, 9-7, when center Katie Rollins connected on a layup. There would be three ties in the first half, but the Lady Bisons went into the dressing room at halftime trailing 31-24.
Bowling Green State started to open up their lead in the second half. They went on a 12-0 run from 8:12 to 3:16 that helped extend their lead to a game-high 21 points.
Rollins and guard Jenna Bartsokas each scored 13 points to lead the Lady Bisons. Forward Cree Nix led the Lady Bisons with nine rebounds.
The Lady Bisons shot 37.7 percent from the field, hitting 20 of 53 attempts.
Bowling Green State placed four players in double figures in scoring, all starters.
Forward Lauren Prochaska posted a double-double with 15 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
Forward Niki McCoy was the top scorer with a game-high 20 points. Center Tara Breske added 12 and guard Tracy Pontious finished with 10.
Bowling Green State shot 41.7 percent from the field, hitting 25 of 60 shots.
Bowling Green State also held a 39-32 edge on the boards.
The Lady Bisons, 1-3, are back home at Allen Arena Monday night at 7 to play Samford.