November 3, 2011

2011-12 GLIAC Women’s Basketball Preview: Coaches Pick Michigan Tech & Ashland to Win Divisional Titles

By Sandy Gholston, Special Writer for the GLIAC

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BAY CITY, Mich. - The chase for the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) appears destined to be as tough as ever with a number of teams returning some serious star power on the court for the 2011-12 season.

This could be a season of star power for women’s basketball in the conference as several top individual players are back led by the Grand Valley State University duo of 6-2 junior center Alex Stelfox and 5-9 junior forward Briauna Taylor. In addition to the GVSU duo, Laura Bardall returns for the University of Findlay, as a senior, along with Hillsdale College senior Chelsea Harrison, Tiffin senior Mandy Jaeb and AU senior Jena Stutzman. All of the aforementioned were first-team all-conference performers last season. A number of student-athletes who earned second-team all-league honors are back and could emerge to shine as stars this winter.

The 2010-11 season witnessed a great run by Michigan Tech as it advanced all the way to the NCAA Division II National Championship game where it was defeated by Clayton State, 69-50 on March 25. GVSU also earned a bid to the NCAA Division II Tournament as it dropped a first-round contest to Drury, 67-60 on March 11 in Houghton. Prior to that, the Huskies won the GLIAC regular-season championship and defeated Ashland 63-53 on March 6 to win the GLIAC Tournament.

2011-12 GLIAC Women’s Basketball
Preseason Media Poll
 

Rank

School (1st-votes)

Pts.

 

North Division

1.

Michigan Tech (23)

174

 

2.

Grand Valley State (1)

145

 

3.

Lake Superior State

106

 

4.

Northwood

94

 

5.

Ferris State

83

 

6.

Northern Michigan

58

 

7.

Saginaw Valley State

38

 

South Division

1.

Ashland (9)

153

 

2.

Findlay (10)

152

 

3.

Hillsdale (4)

136

 

4.

Tiffin (1)

100

 

5.

Wayne State

77

 

6.

Ohio Dominican

53

 

7.

Lake Erie

29

 

2011-12 GLIAC Women’s Basketball
Preseason Player of the Year

Name

School

Yr.

Pos.

Mandy Jaeb

Tiffin

Sr.

G

2011-12 Women’s Basketball North Division
Preseason All-GLIAC Teams

First Team

Name

School

Yr.

Pos.

Marie Blazejewski

LSSU

Jr.

F

Sam Hoyt

MTU

Jr.

G

Alex Stelfox

GVSU

Jr.

C

Briauna Taylor

GVSU

Jr.

G

Emma Veach

MTU

Jr.

G

Second Team

Hillary Bowling

NMU

Sr.

G

Rachel Church

NU

Jr.

G

Chelsea Lyons

NMU

Sr.

G

Cassy Schemberger

LSSU

Sr.

F

Savannah Stedman

NU

Sr.

C

2011-12 Women’s Basketball South Division
Preseason All-GLIAC Teams

First Team

Name

School

Yr.

Pos.

Clare Aubry

UF

Sr.

G

Laura Bardall

UF

Sr.

F

Chelsea Harrison

HC

Sr.

G

Mandy Jaeb

TU

Sr.

G

Jena Stutzman

AU

Sr.

G

Second Team

Phaebre Colbert

WSU

Jr.

F

Abby Glover

ODU

Sr.

F

Jessica Harris

TU

Jr.

F

Alyssa Miller

AU

So.

G

Stephanie Rogers

LEC

Sr.

C

In the North Division, Michigan Tech was picked first in the 2011-12 GLIAC Preseason Women’s Basketball Media Poll with 23 first-place votes and 174 points. Grand Valley State was selected second with one first-place votes and 145 points. In third place was Lake Superior State with 106 points, Northwood was fourth with 94 points, Ferris State was fifth with 83 points, Northern Michigan was sixth with 58 points and Saginaw Valley State was seventh with 38 points.

In the South Division, Ashland was first with 153 points and nine first-place votes, Findlay was second with 152 points and 10 first-place votes, Hillsdale was third with 136 points and four first-place votes and Tiffin was fourth with 100 points and one first-place vote. Wayne State was fifth with 77 points, Ohio Dominican was sixth with 53 points and Lake Erie was seventh with 29 points.

Here’s a preview of teams in their projected order of finish according to the 2010-11 GLIAC Preseason Women’s Basketball Media Poll:

North Division

1. Michigan Technological University

Overview: Michigan Technological University graduated some talented players from its 2010-11 roster, but the program has added and developed some talented players. Among the players who are back in the lineup for head coach Kim Cameron is senior forward Lindsey Lindstrom, junior guard Sam Hoyt and senior guard Krista Kasuboski. The Huskies welcome the addition of 5-9, Grand Valley State University transfer Emma Veach, who starred for the Lakers before she decided to transfer to Tech. Veach was GLIAC “Freshman of the Year” and an All-GLIAC First Team pick as a sophomore at GVSU. She averaged 12.5 points and 5.6 rebounds for the Lakers. Veach’s addition will strengthen the Huskies’ backcourt and give them another scorer. The 5-5 Hoyt is the top returning scorer from last season after averaging 11.9 points as a sophomore. She earned NCAA Elite Eight and GLIAC All-Tournament recognition. Lindstrom averaged 8.5 points and seven rebounds last season.  The 6-0 forward pulled down a league-tying 19 rebounds against Tiffin. Lynn Giesler, a 6-1 senior center, will add size in the post as she averaged 6.2 points and 2.7 rebounds last season in a reserve role. Kate Glodowski, a sophomore forward; Jessica Racine, a junior guard; Paige Albi, a sophomore guard; and Kelcey Traynoff, another sophomore guard, will battle for playing time.

Coaching: Kim Cameron, the 2010-11 GLIAC “Coach of the Year,” is in her second season as the head women’s basketball coach at Michigan Tech University.

Noteworthy: Now former Tech basketball player Angela Guisfredi was recently awarded the 2011 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Postgraduate Scholarship.

2010-11 Record: 31-3 overall, 18-1 GLIAC

 

 

2. Grand Valley State University

Overview: Grand Valley State University welcomes back a strong roster with experience and a lot of talent led by a pair of juniors, 6-2 center Alex Stelfox and 5-9 forward Briauna Taylor, a pair of standouts from last season. Stelfox and Taylor each averaged 14.8 points per game for the Lakers. Taylor averaged a team-leading 6.9 rebounds last season while Stelfox averaged 5.4 rebounds for Grand Valley last winter. Jasmine Padin, a senior point guard, is back after averaging 8.9 points and leading the team with 137 assists and 64 steals. Brittany Taylor, Briauna’s twin sister, returns after averaging 7.7 points and 4.1 rebounds during her sophomore season. Lauren Stodola, who averaged 6.2 points and 3.4 rebounds last season, is back in the lineup for Grand Valley this season along with Tori Klewicki-McNutt and Dani Crandall as contributors from a year ago. Transfer Kellie Watson, a versatile 6-2 forward, joins the team this season.
Coaching: Janel Burgess is in her fifth season as the head women’s basketball coach at Grand Valley State University and has posted a 74-40 record.

Noteworthy: Stelfox and Taylor were named State Farm Coaches’ Honorable Mention All-Americans for their efforts last season on the court.

2010-11 Record: 20-8 overall, 13-6 GLIAC   
 
 

 

3. Lake Superior State

Overview: Lake Superior State University has had a solid women’s basketball tradition over the years and now that tradition

is in the hands of first-year head coach Justin Rees, who takes over for Jamie Pewinski. Rees has some talent left in the proverbial cupboard as he gets ready for his first season as head coach of the Lakers. That returning cast will have to fill the void left by 2010-11 GLIAC Women’s Basketball Player of the Year Emily Joseph. Lake Superior is gearing up to feature a balanced offense this winter to utilize its strengths on the perimeter and inside. Rees is excited about the talent that he has back in the post led by Cassy Schemberger, who averaged 7.8 rebounds and 10.9 points while she shot .659 from the floor, and Maria Blazejewski, who averaged 13.2 points en route to earning second-team all-league honors last winter. That duo gives Lake Superior a solid one-two combination inside to complement the perimeter attack. The Lakers welcome back senior guard Jasmine Brown, a second-year junior college transfer, and senior forward Sarah Cubr. Sophomore guard Raven Trammell and sophomore center Laura VanEs garnered playing time last season as they gained experience.

Coach: Justin Rees is in his first season as the head women’s basketball coach at Lake Superior State University.

Noteworthy: Last season, Emily Joseph earned the honor of being named the GLIAC Women’s Basketball Player of the Year.

2010-11 Record: 16-10 overall, 13-6 GLIAC

 

 

4. Northwood University

Overview: Northwood University will have some big shoes to fill in replacing one of the top scorers and players the GLIAC has seen in quite some time, forward Pam Wilson. Head coach Jeff Curtis has built a solid program and has some candidates coming up through the program led by junior guard Rachel Church and senior guards Sara Pawlaczyk and Megan Gonta. Church averaged 8.7 points last season for the Timberwolves. In the middle, Curtis will rely on 6-3 senior center Savannah Stedman to continue her solid production. Stedman is the leading returning scorer for NU as she averaged 12.1 points and seven rebounds as a junior. Gonta averaged 6.9 points and 2.7 rebounds last season while Pawlaczyk was good for 4.1 points and three rebounds per contest. Northwood has nine freshmen on its roster this season.

Coaching: Jeff Curtis is entering his seventh campaign as the head women’s basketball coach at Northwood University.
Noteworthy: Northwood named Lacy Romine as an assistant coach this season. She replaces Megan Starnes, who resigned earlier in the summer.

2010-11 Record: 15-12 overall, 10-9 GLIAC
 
 

 

5. Ferris State University

Overview: After finishing the 2010-11 season with a .500 record, Ferris State University is hopeful its youth of recent years begins to pay dividends this winter. While Ferris does have some youth, it also has an experienced group of players led by senior guards Tricia Principe, Kelsey DeNoyelles and Lindsey Pettit as cornerstones. A strong freshmen class has Ferris State feeling like it has an opportunity to turn the corner in what will be another strong race for the GLIAC championship.  Principe is the top returning scorer from last season after averaging 12.5 points and 4.3 rebounds. DeNoyelles averaged 7.4 points last season while Pettit averaged 5.6 points and 3.2 rebounds. The Bulldogs will be looking for players to step up to fill the production provided by senior Tiara Adams, who averaged 13.2 points and Becci Houdek, who averaged 8.7 points. The Bulldogs feel they have some candidates who are back and ready to step up this year.

Coaching: Tracey Dorow is entering her 14th season as the head women’s basketball coach at Ferris State University.
Noteworthy: The Ferris State University women’s basketball team ranked among the nation’s top 25 teams academically for the 2010-11 season, according to the WBCA.
2010-11 Record: 13-13 overall, 8-11 GLIAC

 

6. Northern Michigan University

Overview: Northern Michigan University has four seniors, but a boatload of freshmen on its roster as it prepares for the 2011-12 season. In all, NMU has 10 freshmen, two sophomores and four seniors. That means head coach Troy Mattson and his squad will have some talent, but some younger players who will be learning as they go in the GLIAC. A pair of seniors, forward Staci Beckel and guard Chelsea Lyons, are back as scoring leaders for NMU this season. Lyons averaged 12.8 points and 5.3 rebounds last season while Beckel averaged 10.7 points and five rebounds as a junior during the 2010-11 season. Hillary Bowling, a 5-10 senior, returns as well for NMU. Last season, Bowling averaged 9.3 points and 3.7 rebounds.

Coaching: Troy Mattson is entering his sixth season as the head women’s basketball coach at Northern Michigan University.


Noteworthy: The Wildcats open the 2011-12 season on Nov. 13 as they host Minnesota-Duluth with tipoff scheduled for 7 p.m.

2010-11 Record: 12-14 overall, 7-12 GLIAC

 

 

7. Saginaw Valley State University

Overview: Saginaw Valley State University begins a new era with its April announcement that it had hired former student-athlete Jamie Pewinski as its 10th head coach. She had spent the previous five seasons as the head women’s basketball coach at GLIAC rival Lake Superior State University before she took the position at SVSU. The Cardinals will be led by sophomore guard Kristen Greene’s 9.6 points and junior forward Cheritee Green who averaged 9.5 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.

Coaching: Jamie Pewinski is entering her first season as the head women’s basketball coach at Saginaw Valley State

University.

Noteworthy: The Cardinals announced that it has hired Darin Thrun as the assistant coach for Pewinski.

2010-11 Record: 8-18 overall, 5-14 GLIAC
 
 

 

South Division


1. Ashland University


Overview: Ashland University welcomes back some significant firepower in its lineup led by senior guard Jena Stutzman. Stutzman averaged a team-leading 16.2 points last season and pulled down 3.7 rebounds per game as well. The Eagles also have a veteran presence in the middle returning in 6-2 center Beth Mantkowski for 17th-year head coach Sue Ramsey. Mantkowski averaged 5.4 points and 3.5 rebounds last season for AU and should benefit from another year of experience as she enters her junior campaign. This is a fairly young squad the Eagles will send to the floor as Stutzman is the lone senior this winter. Ashland also added Kari Daughtery, a 6-1 transfer student-athlete from the University of Dayton.

Coaching: Sue Ramsey is entering her 17th season as the head women’s basketball coach at Ashland University.

Noteworthy: Ashland’s Daiva Gerbec was named to the honorable mention Women’s Basketball Coaches Association NCAA Division II State Farm Coaches’ All-American Team last season.

2010-11 Record: 19-10 overall, 12-7 GLIAC

 

2. University of Findlay

Overview: The University of Findlay is continuing to build on the tradition that it is establishing in women’s college basketball in the GLIAC. Under head coach Kate Cummings, the progress has included winning two GLIAC South Division titles and looking for a third entering the 2011-12 season. The Oilers have a talented and experienced cast returning this season led by a pair of seniors in All-GLIAC forward Laura Bardall, who averaged 14.1 points and 5.8 rebounds as a junior, and second-team All-GLIAC guard Clare Aubry, who averaged 15 points and 3.9 rebounds last season. Juniors Kayla Brown and Kendra Elam, along with sophomore Karli Beasley, are experienced players ready to again contribute to UF’s success this season and freshman Kristin Klausing is a promising newcomer that has the Oilers excited. A pair of young players in Saira House and Ashley Andrews could again contribute to UF’s success. Brown averaged 13.1 points and 4.3 rebounds last season. At center, Kaitlyn Nelson is back in the lineup after averaging 5.3 points and 4.4 rebounds last season. She is a high-percentage shooter and a capable shot blocker having swatted back 35 last season.

Coaching: Kate Cummings is entering her sixth season as the head women’s basketball coach at the University of Findlay.

Noteworthy: Jim Wiedie was named the Oilers new assistant coach for women’s basketball on Aug. 23.

2010-11 Record: 17-10 overall, 12-7 GLIAC

 

3. Hillsdale College

Overview: A good mix of youth and experience will help define this year’s Hillsdale College women’s basketball squad. The team welcomes back four starters from last year’s squad that won 17 games and made advanced to the second round of the GLIAC Tournament. Chelsea Harrison, a first team All-GLIAC South Division guard, is back for her third season as a starter. She is one of the GLIAC’s premier 3-point shooters and has ranked in the top five in scoring each of the last two seasons. Seniors Katie Bildner and Elizabeth Brannick bring strength and athleticism to the lineup and will enter the season as the team’s starting forwards. Junior Lea Jones enjoyed her best season with the Chargers last year, and is a tireless point guard. The sophomore class is led by guard Marissa DeMott and forward Angela Bisaro, who each received valuable rotation time last year and will be expected to make heavier contributions this season. Sophomores Allyson Lloyd and Lyndsay LaCourse add to the team’s frontcourt depth. A class of six-woman freshman class joins the program and provides versatility in addition to talent.

Coaching: Claudette Charney is entering her 10th season as head women’s basketball coach at Hillsdale College.

Noteworthy: Stephanie Schell has been hired as the new assistant women’s basketball coach for the Hillsdale College.

2010-11 Record: 17-10 overall, 10-9 GLIAC
 

 

4. Tiffin University

Overview: Tiffin University is hoping a pair of strong backcourt scorers can lead the team to more success during the 2011-12 season. The Dragons looked strong at the guard spots as they return senior Mandy Jaeb, a two-time All-GLIAC performer who averaged 14.8 points and 4.6 rebounds last season along with junior Karli Mast, who averaged 12.6 points and 2.2 rebounds a year ago. More firepower will assist that guard tandem as 6-1 junior forward Jessica Harris returns after averaging 9.2 point and 8.1 rebounds during her sophomore season as she started in all 27 of the team’s games in the post. Holly Focke, a senior guard; Jennifer Johnston, also a senior guard, Amanda Baute, a sophomore forward; Melissa Gilliland, a junior guard; and Steph Kelly, a junior guard, are back for Tiffin.

Coaching: Pam Oswald is entering her fifth season on the Dragons’ bench as head coach.

Noteworthy: Tiffin returns all 10 letterwinners and all five starters from last season’s squad.

2010-11 Record: 15-12 overall, 9-10 GLIAC
 

 

5. Wayne State University

Overview: Carrie Lohr begins a new chapter in women’s college basketball history at Wayne State University as she was named the program’s 12th head coach in May. Lohr, who previously served as the head women’s basketball coach at St. Clair County Community College in Port Huron, previously spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Oakland University as it moved from Division II to Division I. Lohr quickly signed a pair of Division I transfer student-athletes in Stefani Munro, who played three seasons at George Washington University and Juanita Cochran, who played most recently at Stony Brook. The team has five returning letterwinners from the 2010-11 season. Those five returning letterwinners are juniors Paige Sickmiller, a guard; Phaebre Colbert, a guard, Deanna Crumpton, a forward; Amelia Davis, a guard/forward; and sophomore Lena Thomas, a guard. The balance of the roster is comprised of newcomers, who have yet to earn a WSU varsity letter for women’s basketball. Sickmiller is the leading returning scorer as she averaged 9.3 points and 4.7 rebounds last season.  Colbert averaged nine points and five rebounds. Crumpton averaged 8.9 points and 4.5 rebounds.

Coaching: Carrie Lohr enters her first season as the head women’s basketball coach at Wayne State University.

Noteworthy: Coach Lohr hired Karen Lafata as her assistant coach. Lafata, most recently, served as the head women’sbasketball coach at Schoolcraft College in Livonia. She also hired Darrin McAllister as an assistant coach.

2010-11 Record: 10-16 overall, 9-10 GLIAC   
 

 

6. Ohio Dominican University

Overview: Ohio Dominican University has three returning starters and nine returning letterwinners as it looks toward the start of the 2011-12 season. In spite of the loss of some talent from last winter’s squad, ODU hopes it can build on some of its successes on the hardwood it experienced during the 2010-11 season. The Panthers will lean heavily on a trio of seniors led by Abby Glover, a forward; and guards Meredith Fox and Tracy Snider. Glover was the squad’s leading scorer last season as she averaged 9.3 points and 6.1 rebounds. Fox ranked second on the team in scoring as she averaged 9.2 points and 4.4 rebounds while Snider was fourth on the squad in scoring with an average of 8.4 points per contest. The Panthers open the season on Nov. 15 with a trip to Malone. ODU opens at home on Nov. 19 when it hosts Ursuline.

Coaching: Nathan Bellman is entering his sixth season on the Panthers’ bench as head coach, and his second in the GLIAC.

Noteworthy: Bellman has coached eight Daktronics-NAIA All-America Scholar Athletes and 12 academic all-conference selections, including nine a year ago.

2010-11 Record: 7-19 overall, 5-13 GLIAC

 

 

7. Lake Erie College

Overview: Lake Erie College has its top six scorers back in its lineup as it looks ahead to the 2011-12 season. Stephanie Rogers, a 6-1 senior, is back at center while Jen Caiola, a 5-10 senior forward, is back for the Storm. That is good news for head coach Bob Booher who will look both to continue to produce and lead LEC this season. Last winter, All-GLIAC Defensive Team pick Rogers averaged 15 points and 7.6 rebounds while Caiola, the premier 3-point shooter in LEC women’s basketball history, contributed 11.8 points per game and 3.8 rebounds. She hit 41 triples last season. In all, the Storm haven eight seniors as the start of the 2011-12 season looms on the horizon and six players back with significant starting experience. The biggest returner is forward Alyssa Wagers, who is back after missing the 2010-11 season with injury. During the 2009-10 campaign, she averaged 13.6 points, 9.4 rebounds and shot 80 percent at the free throw line. Brittany Zele, a fifth-year senior guard, averaged 4.6 points and had 29 assists; Britt Busson, a 5-7 senior guard, averaged 4.8 points and handed out 72 assists with 21 steals. After an exhibition contest at Division I Ohio University Nov. 8, the squad opens its regular season on Nov. 12 with a home date against Ursuline at 7 p.m. In fact, the team’s first three games are on the home court of the Storm as the team hosts Salem International on Nov. 15 and Notre Dame (Ohio) on Nov. 20.

Coaching: Bob Booher is entering his seventh season on the Storm bench as head coach.

Noteworthy: The Lake Erie College women’s basketball team was recognized on the Academic Top 25 Team Honor Roll for the 2010-11 season by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association.  Lake Erie placed 20th among NCAA Division II institutions with a 3.456 team GPA.

2010-11 Record: 3-22 overall, 2-17 GLIAC

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