Defense wins championships is a sports cliché that is often over used.

Baton Rouge Community College basketball coaches Paula Lee and Ricky Wilson hope a variation of the catch phrase holds true on Thursday night.

Both coaches believe defense is the vehicle that help can drive their teams to season-opening victories over Pearl River Community College. The women’s game is set for 5 p.m., followed by the men’s game at 7 p.m. at BRCC’s Bonne Sante Wellness Center.

“Defense, defense, defense,” Lee said. “That’s what we’ve been stressing at our last four practices. If you can stop the other team from scoring or limit their chances you increase your chances to win.”

Both teams will enter the games with revamped rosters. Lee is in her second season, while Thursday’s game will mark the debut of Wilson, a former Southern Mississippi assistant coach hired three weeks ago.

“I think the guys are excited about getting the chance to play,” Wilson said. “They’ve been beating up on each other and they’re ready to go against somebody else.

“Defense is a key part of my philosophy. I also believe that practices are supposed to be hard and that playing a game is a reward. These guys are ready for a reward.”

The fact that both BRCC rosters are revamped from last season should also make the doubleheader with Pearl River intriguing.

Lee plans to start two veterans in the backcourt, sophomores Bunny Scott and Rhondalon Popularas. The freshman front court will include 6-foot-2 Jamera Martin, 5-9 Chelsea Christopher and 6-0 Desiree Savage.

Wilson’s Bears squad will have a starting lineup that includes point guard Lyonne Richardson and Jordan Bedford, both sophomores. The BRCC front line will consists of 6-7 Matt LeBato, 6-6 Patrick Agho and 6-4 Tyson Goldwire.