By Brian Lester, Special Writer for the GLIAC
BAY CITY, Mich. – The Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) is the home of the reigning NCAA Division II national champion as Ashland completed a remarkable run to the title this past season after finishing as the runner-up during the 2011-12 campaign.
But the Eagles, who have won the last two conference tournament titles, will have a different look and several teams will be hungry to replace AU as the best team in the conference. In the South Division, Findlay and Hillsdale should both be viable contenders for the championship while the North Division is loaded with potential title contenders, including Michigan Tech and Wayne State, which played in the Sweet 16 last year and nearly pulled off an upset of the Eagles in that game. Grand Valley State and Ferris State can't be counted out either in the title hunt.
Brittany Streetman of Wayne State, Ashley Andrews of Findlay, Karli Mast of Tiffin, Emily Wendling of Saginaw Valley State, Kylie Moxley of Michigan Tech, Deborah Simmers of Malone, Megan Fogt of Hillsdale, Sarah DeShone of Ferris State and Dani Crandall of Grand Valley State are among the top returning players in the league, which should be as competitive as usual.
Wins never come easy in the GLIAC, especially on the road, and while the Eagles have raised the bar for the conference over the last two seasons, there are a host of teams in the league ready to jump up and touch that bar and perhaps even set the standard a little higher this coming season.
Only time will tell how the season plays out, but one thing is for sure, every night should be entertaining as teams battle for supremacy in the GLIAC.
|2013 GLIAC Women's Basketball
North Division Poll
|1||Mich. Tech (16)||177||21-9|
|2||Wayne State (8)||167||22-9|
|2013 GLIAC Women's Basketball
South Division Poll
Below are previews of all 16 GLIAC women's basketball teams in alphabetical order:
Coach: Sue Ramsey is entering her 19th season as the head coach of the Eagles.
2012-13 Record: 37-1, 21-1 in the GLIAC
Overview: The Eagles are coming off a national championship and duplicating that success will not be easy with only two starters back. Junior guard Taylor Woods (12.3 points per game) and senior guard Alyssa Miller (10.3) are both returning starters. Miller is the Eagles' career leader in assists and dished out 192 last season. Ashland features three other returning players who could make an impact in junior guard Chelsea LaPorte, junior guard Melanie Poorman and sophomore guard MaKenzie Miller. All three will be looked upon to provide help on both ends of the floor as the Eagles try to overcome the loss of national player of the year Kari Daugherty (22.3 ppg, 13.7 rebounds per game). The Eagles lost a total of eight players from their title team but start the season ranked No. 15 in the nation.
Noteworthy: Ashland will re-dedicate renovated Kates Gymnasium on Jan. 11 when it hosts Michigan Tech in a CBS College Sports Network NCAA Division II Game of the Week.
Ferris State University
Coach: Colleen Lamoreaux-Tate is in her second season as the head coach of the Bulldogs.
2012-13 Record: 13-13 overall, 12-10 in the GLIAC
Overview: The Bulldogs reached the conference tournament for the 14th time in program history last season and have won 10 or more games in 16 of the last 17 seasons. This year's Ferris State squad will be led by senior guard Sarah DeShone, a two-time All-American who averaged 17.7 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. She also racked up 54 steals. Sophomore guard Katie Mavis averaged 8.4 points per game and hit 18 treys while senior guard/forward Ashley Rando (10.3 ppg), junior forward Kara Hess (6.7 ppg) and junior center Hannah Hoffman (4.4 ppg) also have experience as starters. Rando hit 39 3-pointers and Hoffman grabbed 5.0 rebounds per game. Hess dished out 29 assists. Three players who used redshirt seasons last year are also back in the fold for the Bulldogs. Sophomore guard Destiny Robinson started out at Grand Rapids Community College and sophomore guard Dena Droste is a transfer from Kent State. Christina Branch was the GLIAC Freshman of the Year in 2011-12 and helped the Bulldogs win a North Division championship and earn an NCAA tournament bid that season.
Noteworthy: Branch averaged 9.6 points and 8.1 rebounds per game two seasons ago, scoring in double figures 12 times and leading the team in rebounding during the season.
University of Findlay
Coach: Jim Wiedie enters his first season as the head coach of the Oilers.
2012-13 Record: 24-6 overall, 19-3 in the GLIAC
Overview: All-American Kayla Brown is gone but the Oilers should have plenty of experience back to make a run at the conference title. Point guard Ashley Andrews is one of four seniors and averaged 5.3 points per game last year while dishing out 73 assists and tallying 44 steals. Senior guard Karli Beasley averaged 5.0 ppg last season and tallied 48 assists and 43 steals while senior forward Kaleigh Kenny (4.0 ppg) and senior center Andrea Kras will also provide experience. Sophomore forward Margaret Weubker is actually the leading returning scorer, clicking for 5.5 ppg last season. She also led the team in rebounding (4.0 rebounds per game). Junior forward Lacey Kessler (4.8 ppg) and junior point guard Kristin Klausing (2.7 ppg, 53 assists) will also play a key role for the Oilers. UF has three transfers as well, including Ciera Geiger from Urbana. Geiger, a junior forward, was the Great Midwest Athletic Conference Player of the Year last season and averaged 18.4 ppg for the Blue Knights. She scored nearly 1,000 points (995) in two seasons at Urbana. One of the top freshman is guard Karli Bonar, who set Ohio high school records for 3-pointers in a season (110) and career (350).
Noteworthy: The Oilers won 17 of their final 20 games last year and handed Ashland its only loss of the season with a 66-51 win on Feb. 14 at Croy Gymnasium.
Grand Valley State University
Coach: Janel Burgess is in her seventh season as the head coach of the Lakers.
2012-13 Record: 19-8 overall, 15-7 in the GLIAC
Overview: Grand Valley State is coming off its eighth appearance in the conference tournament in the last nine seasons and the Lakers return nine players from that team, including one starter. Dani Crandall is the lone senior for the Lakers and started 18 games last year. The veteran guard averaged 8.0 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. She shot 44.4 percent from the field and dished out 47 assists. Junior forward Kat LaPrairie will likely move into the starting lineup after averaging 8.4 points per game off the bench. She is a viable threat from the outside, having hit 43 3-pointers last season. Junior center Daina Grazulis and junior point guard Meryl Cripe will also play key roles. Two Division I transfers should make an impact as well. Junior guard Janelle McQueen started 25 games in two seasons at Texas Southern and sophomore guard/forward Bailey Cairnduff played in 32 games for Bowling Green State a year ago. Freshman Kayla Dawson could make an immediate impact after finishing as a semifinalist for Miss Basketball of Wisconsin as a high school senior. Freshman point guard Taylor Lutz could also play right away.
Noteworthy: Burgess won her 100th game as the head coach of the Lakers last season in a 74-48 win over Saginaw Valley on Jan. 24. Burgess is 103-64 in her career at GVSU.
Coach: Claudette Charney enters her 12th season as the head coach of the Chargers.
2012-13 Record: 11-14 overall, 8-14 in the GLIAC
Overview: The Chargers are looking to return to their winning ways this season as they feature an experienced team that includes junior forward Megan Fogt, who dropped in 14.8 points per game and pulled down 10.3 rebounds per game last season. Junior guard Kadie Lowery averaged 7.5 points per outing and hit 34 3-pointers last season while senior forward Angela Bisaro is coming off a year where she averaged 6.8 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. Sophomore forward Sarah Theut clicked for 4.1 ppg and pulled down 3.7 rebounds per game. She also racked up 19 steals. Sophomore guard Ashlynn Landherr (3.6 ppg, 68 assists, 28 steals) should step into a more prominent role for the Chargers and senior guard Marissa DeMott (6.8 ppg) will be key to the success of the Chargers as well.
Noteworthy: Charney has won 183 games in her career with the Chargers and has won 508 games overall in her coaching career.
Lake Erie College
Coach: Bob Booher is entering his ninth season as the head coach of the Storm.
2012-13 Record: 4-23 overall, 2-20 in the GLIAC
Overview: The Storm is hoping to take steps forward this season and one of the players it will be counting on to make that happen is junior guard Jackie Murray. Murray averaged 7.2 points per game and dished out 37 assists. She hit 48 3-pointers and racked up 30 steals. Senior forward Chrissy Delaney also returns after averaging 6.5 ppg and 3.5 rebounds per outing. Sophomore center Kaeding Skelton clicked for 4.8 points per outing last year and grabbed 3.5 rebounds per game. Delaney racked up 30 steals and Skelton came through with 28 steals. Freshmen Kennedy Walker, a center, and guard Alyssa Brumbaugh, are two newcomers who could make an immediate impact. Brumbaugh scored 12 points in an exhibition loss to Akron.
Noteworthy: Booher is the winningest coach in program history with 80 wins, including 16 victories during the 2011-12 campaign.
Lake Superior State University
Coach: Shannon Eggers is going into her second season as the head coach of the Lakers.
2012-13 Record: 5-21 overall, 4-18 in the GLIAC
Overview: The Lakers will need to fill the void left by Maria Blazejewski (17.8 points per game), but that shouldn't be too much of a problem with 10 returning players. Paving the way will be junior guard Kandace Crittendon, who is coming off a season where she averaged 9.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. Senior guard Raven Trammell is back as well after averaging 8.7 points and 2.4 rebounds per outing. Candice LaCross also returns. The senior forward averaged 4.6 points per outing and grabbed 4.0 rebounds per game. All three should have solid seasons and help put the Lakers in a position for a better finish in the league.
Noteworthy: The Lakers shot 37.6 percent from the floor and averaged 56.6 points per game a year ago.
Coach: Jason Mishler is entering his third year as the head coach of the Pioneers.
2012-13 Record: 14-12 overall, 10-12 GLIAC
Overview: With 12 letterwinners back, Malone should be one of the more improved teams in the conference this season. The Pioneers return all five starters, including senior guard Deborah Simmers, who was a second-team All-GLIAC pick after averaging 12.0 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. Simmers knocked down 34 3-pointers. Sydnee Penn is the other senior among the returning starters. The veteran guard clicked for 9.4 points per game and grabbed 3.6 rebounds per outing. Junior guard Logan Pastor is coming off a year where she averaged 8.9 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. She also dished out 94 assists. Junior forward Lyndsy Snhyder averaged 7.5 ppg and pulled down 5.8 rebounds per game. Junior guard Selana Reale rounds out the returning starters. She averaged 7.2 points per outing. Six other players also have experience, including sophomore forward Tara Schaffter, who averaged 6.9 points and 3.5 rebounds per game a year ago.
Noteworthy: The Pioneers fashioned a winning road record last season, going 7-6.
Michigan Technological University
Coach: Kim Cameron is entering her fourth season as the head coach of the Huskies.
2012-13 Record: 21-9 overall, 17-5 in the GLIAC
Overview: Michigan Tech earned a share of the North Division crown last year and will have high expectations again this season. The Huskies, who played in the NCAA tournament last year, return three starters, including sophomore forward Kylie Moxley. Moxley averaged 9.7 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. Junior forward Jillian Ritchie averaged 8.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per outing last year while sophomore guard Mackenzie Perttu clicked for 6.6 points per outing. She hit 22 3-pointers and tallied 21 steals. Senior forward Taylor Stippel will provide a veteran presence and is coming off a year where she avearged 7.8 ppg and blocked 10 shots. Senior guard Paige Albi (4.5 ppg) and sophomore guard Danielle Blake (4.0 ppg) will also be counted on for the Huskies. Albi hit 15 3-pointers last year.
Noteworthy: The Huskies have won 12 division titles, sharing it once,and have made 17 appearances in the NCAA tournament, reaching the second round last year.
Northern Michigan University
Coach: Troy Mattson is going into his ninth season as the head coach of the Wildcats.
2012-13 Record: 13-14 overall, 10-12 in the GLIAC
Overview: Northern Michigan should be one of the most improved teams in the league this season with 12 letterwinners back. The group includes junior guard Alyssa Colla, who led the Wildcats in scoring at 13.1 points per game. She pulled down 4.1 rebounds per game as well and dished out 79 assists. Colla tallied 32 steals as well. Junior guard Lauren Gruber also returns after clicking for 11.7 points per outing last year. Gruber nailed 38 3-pointers and handed out 75 assists while tallying 37 steals. Sophomore forward Nea Makela (8.9 ppg), junior forward Abbey DeBruin (7.6 ppg) and sophomore guard Anna Liewen (5.6 ppg) are also returning starters, making the Wildcats one of the most experienced teams in the conference. Junior forward Brooke Coenen (3.9 ppg) and junior center Courtney Lemon (3.9 ppg) will help provide depth for the Wildcats.
Noteworthy: Mattson is a 1986 graduate of NMU and is two wins shy of 100 in his career with the Wildcats.
Coach: Jeff Curtis enters his 10th season as the head coach of the Timberwolves.
2012-13 Record: 12-16 overall, 10-12 in the GLIAC
Overview: Sophomore forward Lauren Robak is the leading returning scorer for a Timberwolves team hoping to take a step forward this season. Robak averaged 10.4 points per game last year and came through with 35 steals. Junior guard Gabrielle Rivette is also back. She averaged 9.3 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. Rivette was tough defensively as well as she tallied 39 steals. Sophomore center Jordyn Nurenberg clicked for 7.9 ppg and pulled down 4.7 rebounds per game while junior forward/center Aleigha Wylie averaged 7.3 points per outing. Wylie tallied 23 steals and blocked 14 shots. Junior guard forward Sarah Susan (5.9 ppg), senior guard Sarah Spring (5.8 ppg) and junior guard/forward Kaitlin Susan (5.3 ppg) also have experience and will play key roles in the success of the Timberwolves.
Noteworthy: Curtis is the winningest coach in program history with 117 victories.
Ohio Dominican University
Coach: Lynsey Warren is entering her second season at the helm of the Panthers
2012-13 Record: 11-15 overall, 7-15 in the GLIAC
Overview: The Panthers should be a much improved team with the return of nine letterwinners, including junior guard Kacee Hockenberry, who led the Panthers in scoring at 14.7 points per game. She hit 31 3-pointers and racked up 53 steals. Sophomore forward Melissa Scherpenberg will give ODU a strong presence inside after averaging 9.1 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. Senior forward Katelyn Stuckey will be one of the more prominent scoring threats after averaging 10.2 points per outing last season. Junior guard Micaela Liddane, junior guard Holly Brunswick, senior guard Mikeila Mast and sophomore guard Rachael Torey will also be counted on to contribute. Torey was fourth on the team in scoring (7.8 ppg) and also tallied 34 steals.
Noteworthy: The Panthers had no seniors on the roster in Warren's first season as the head coach. This year, they have four, including Bellarmine transfer Chelsea Hawkins.
Saginaw Valley State University
Coach: Jamie Pewinski is entering her third season at the helm of the Cardinals.
2012-13 Record: 13-14 overall, 11-11 GLIAC
Overview: The Cardinals will be without its top scorer from last season, Emily Wendling. The sophomore forward, who was named the the GLIAC "Freshman of the Year" last season after averaging 15.0 points and 8.1 rebounds per game, will sit out this season with an injury. Sophomore guard Katelyn Carriere returns after averaging 9.9 points per game and dishing out 78 assists. She hit a team-best 26 3-pointers as well. The Cardinals also welcome back their third and fourth-leading scorers in junior forward Samantha Zirzow (9.8 ppg) and senior guard Kristen Greene (8.9 ppg). Zirzow pulled down 7.0 rebounds per game and tallied 27 steals while Greene racked up 21 steals. Sophomore guard Danielle Carriere (5.2 ppg) and junior forward Briana Graham should also have an opportunity to make an impact.
Noteworthy: The Cardinals won seven of their final 10 games in the regular season and earned a spot in the GLIAC tournament.
Coach: Pam Oswald is entering her seventh season as the head coach of the Dragons.
2012-13 Record: 11-15 overall, 8-14 in the GLIAC
Overview: The Dragons lost several close games a season ago, including four by less than seven, and improving this season will hinge on being able to survive the loss of Jessica Harris, who averaged 10.2 points per game and scored more than 1,000 career points. Senior guard Karli Mast will be counted on to pave the way after averaging 12.2 points per outing. She played in only five games, though, last season because of a season-ending injury. Sophomore guard Jordan Fraley averaged 7.7 ppg and hit 28 3-pointers last season. Senior forward Jillian Adams averaged 6.7 ppg and pulled down 4.0 rebounds per game. Sophomore guard Mackenzie Storlie clicked for 4.1 points per outing and dished out 51 assists.
Noteworthy: The Dragons have three former players on their staff in assistant coaches Kylene Spiegel, Holly Focke and Harris.
Coach: Maria Marchesano is in her first season as the head coach of the Cavaliers.
2012-13 Record: 8-19 overall, 5-17 in the GLIAC
Overview: Seven players are back for the Cavaliers and senior forward Maggie Berry will be counted on to lead the way for Walsh as it looks to improve in its second season in the GLIAC. Berry averaged 10.7 points per game and was solid defensively, tallying 45 steals and blocking 26 shots. Junior guard Audrey Badovick also returns and clicked for 5.5 points per outing and dished out 50 assists. Senior forward Tara Gallupe averaged 5.4 points and 3.4 rebounds per game last season and shot 48 percent from the floor. Sophomore forward Whitney Dabbelt averaged 4.8 ppg and grabbed 7.0 rebounds per outing. She played well on the defensive end, too, racking up 46 steals and swatting 29 shots. Junior guard Alyssa Jones averaged 2.5 ppg and should play a more prominent role on the team this season.
Noteworthy: Marchesano is the eighth coach in program history at Walsh and was a four-year letterwinner during her basketball career at Butler University.
Wayne State University
Coach: Carrie Lohr is in her third season as the head coach of the Warriors.
2012-13 Record: 22-9 overall, 17-5 in the GLIAC
Overview: Wayne State is coming off a magical year in which it reached the Sweet 16 in its second NCAA tournament appearance in school history. The Warriors led eventual national champion Ashland with just over four minutes to play before the Eagles rallied for the win. Four returning players are back and five transfers have come aboard as the Warriors take aim at duplicating last season's success. Sophomore guard Brittany Streetman averaged 5.2 points per outing and nailed 31 3-pointers. Senior guard/forward Imari Redfield was the team's most improved player after averaging 4.5 points per game. Senior guard Lena Thomas and junior forward Kayla Bridges also return. Among the transfers, four of which are from Division I schools, is junior center Shareta Brown from Detroit Mercy. Brown was her team's leading scorer last year, clicking for 21 ppg, and also led the team in rebounding (9.3 rebounds per game) and steals (41) as she earned All-Horizon League honors. Sophomore guard Desitny Lavita-Stephens has also transferred from the Titans while junior guard Jackie Jones arrives from Chicago State. Jones averaged 8.0 ppg last year. Junior forward Ashley Wilson is a transfer from Olivet Nazarene and averaged 15.6 ppg a year ago. The other transfer is junior guard Ondrea Hughes from Cleveland State.
Noteworthy: Thomas is tied for 20th in school history in career 3-point percentage (.308) and has made 32 3-pointers in her career.