Back in the game, womenƒ?TMs b-ball finishes full season

By Nate Oglesbee

At the end of last Saturdayƒ?TMs defeat to Augsburg College the womenƒ?TMs basketball teamƒ?”sweaty and exhausted from the game and the seasonƒ?”gathered around first-year head coach Ellen Thompson at center court on the large, blue Macalester ƒ?M.ƒ?TM ƒ?oe[She told us], ƒ?Hey, we made it through the season,ƒ?TM and that was our big goal,ƒ?? Katie Malnor ƒ?TM06 said.Itƒ?TMs hard to ever define a 2-21 season as much of a success, but after last yearƒ?TMs aborted 0-6 season, coach Thompson and the players will take it. The team completed the year, had a larger roster, bonded together, traveled far more than a normal schedule would allow, and managed to win a couple games. In fact, the teamƒ?TMs two-win season is the best Mac has done since 2002-03. Since that time, the women have gone through two coaches, lost a MIAC scoring leader, had their season cancelled, and had massive turnover in their roster.

Can 2-21 be a success?
ƒ?oeFinishing the season in a competitive league was a great accomplishment,ƒ?? Thompson said. ƒ?oeGetting two wins for a team that didnƒ?TMt exist last year is fantastic as well.ƒ??

After last yearƒ?TMs embarrassment, getting enough players to field a team week after week was one of Thompsonƒ?TMs key tasks, and she succeeded, if in a slightly unconventional way. Over the course of the year, at least six juniors and seniors who hadnƒ?TMt played organized basketball in years suited up for the Scotsƒ?”and some of them turned out to be among the teamƒ?TMs best players.

Callie PaStarr ƒ?TM07, who played until she went abroad, was second on the team in scoring and steals, and fourth in rebounds, despite not having played since high school.

The unconventional players like PaStarr coupled with a group of first-years to give the Scots the core of their roster.

Chief among the first-year players was Elise Pagel, who led the team in nearly every category. Pagel averaged 15.5 points and 4.6 rebounds per game, and was the top scorer for Mac in nearly every game. She scored a season-high 27 against Monmouth midway through the year, and pumped in 26 in Macƒ?TMs first win over Crown College.

ƒ?oeWe accomplished what we wanted to, and made a statement in the MIAC,ƒ?? Pagel said.

To be a winning squad in the MIAC, however, will take more than Pagelƒ?TMs considerable skills. Thompson will need to develop a talented and consistent lineupƒ?”something that was sorely lacking this seasonƒ?”if the Scots are to have any success in coming years.

Roster reshuffle
Of the eight players who were on the floor during the Scotsƒ?TM season-opener against St. Scholastica, only four were standing at center court last week. All season long, there seemed to be a constant coming and going of players, something that wore on the team and coach Thompson.

ƒ?oeOur numbers on the team were always fluctuating,ƒ?? guard Brittany Lewis ƒ?TM09 said. ƒ?oeIt was never constant number of girls. It was like this core eight girls that were always there, and it was hard for us because we didnƒ?TMt know who would be there the next day.ƒ??

Lewis herself decided to quit the team with a couple weeks to go in the season, joining two other women who made similar moves earlier in the year. In addition, the team had a player transfer, lost Meghan Garrity ƒ?TM08 to a torn ACL, had PaStarr and Annie Borton ƒ?TM07 go abroad, and didnƒ?TMt get a big influx of players until the soccer and cross country seasons were over.

ƒ?oeTo start and end the season with the same girls would be better,ƒ?? coach Thompson said. ƒ?oeI would have liked to see more of the girls stick with it.ƒ?? That, however, will be a goal that has to wait until next year.


So what does next year have in store for the womenƒ?TMs team? After a one-year hiatus, the squad will be rejoining the MIAC and playing a full schedule of tougher conference opponents.

ƒ?oeWe will work on bringing in more players so that we can be more competitive in the MIAC,ƒ?? Thompson said. ƒ?oeWe need more players and a bigger roster in generalƒ?ÝWeƒ?TMre currently waiting on several high-quality recruits.ƒ??

It will be up to Thompson to combine those recruits with the current talent she has in the likes of Pagel and others in order to strengthen the program.

New Athletic Director Travis Feezell believes Thompson is up to the task. ƒ?oeCoach Thompson has done a phenomenal job recruitingƒ?Ýbasketball can go from night to day very quickly,ƒ?? Feezell said.

Whether or not the daylight will come next year remains to be seen. For now, the women who huddled up on the ƒ?Mƒ?TM are glad to have made it through the year.