CHARLESTON (WCIA) — Closing practice saying ‘undefeated’ is just part of the new culture for the Eastern Illinois women’s basketball team. The Panthers are making program history matching the team’s best start to Ohio Valley Conference play at 11-0, a record set in the 2011-2012 season.

“Before we never really talked about goals beyond the OVC tournament so I think just knowing how good of a team we are and just wanting to grow each and every day, not getting comfortable with the results we have now is just something that we have not really ever done in the past,” Eastern Illinois senior guard Lariah Washington said.

Eastern has won 11 straight games and is 18-3 overall to start the month of February. With seven games remaining in the regular season, the Panthers have a two-game lead in the OVC, looking to win their first regular season league title since 2013.

“You can see now a change in the wins, but also a change in the culture and also just the expectation to win and how we carry ourselves, how we practice is so much better,” Eastern Illinois head coach Matt Bollant said.

And the sixth-year Panthers coach is no stranger to postseason play. Bollant Wisconsin-Green Bay to five-straight NCAA tournament appearances before leaving to become the head coach at Illinois. Eastern hasn’t qualified for the Big Dance since 1988.

“If you just work out the days you feel good, you’re not going to get there and how driven are you to go experience something special?” Bollant said about his team’s approach to success.

“All this hard work we’ve been doing is paying off,” Eastern Illinois senior forward Morgan Litwiller said. “We get to say that we were the ones that got to set that standard. We were a part of that building of the program, so I think it’s really cool.”