Women's basketball optimistic for strong start after solid season

By Jack Wickham

As the fall season is drawing to a close, the Macalester women’s basketball team has been preparing itself for the tough season ahead of them. Last year, the women completed a somewhat average, yet promising season, garnering an overall record of 11-14. This year, with an almost exclusively veteran team, the women look to improve their competitiveness in the MIAC, where last year they finished ninth out of 12 teams. The women started off last year’s season strongly. After beginning with two crushing wins, one against Lawrence University and the next against Oberlin College, the women lost a tightly contested 83-79 match against Whitman College. From then on, the Scots started MIAC play, first beating three conference teams before losing to St. Benedict, who would end up at the top of the MIAC by the end of the season. The women played relatively consistently up until a close loss to St. Catherine’s. After this 65-62 defeat, the Scots went on a crippling seven game losing streak, which ended with a 73-59 win over Augsburg. From there, the women finished the season with two more wins and two more losses, leaving them with a record too weak to make the playoffs.

“There’s no team you can assume a guaranteed win with”, said guard Shannon Rene ’12. “You have to earn it.”

In the 2009-2010 season, the Scots hope to draw on their wealth of experience in order to achieve a better record. Of the 16 women on the team, seven are seniors, and all but played on the team last year. Only one freshman, guard Kyanna Jones ’13, joins the team this year. Jones averaged 5.8 points, 1.9 assists and 1.4 steals during her senior year at Osseo Senior High School in Osseo, MN.

Representing the frontcourt are forward Trina PaStarr ’10 and center Ann Baltzer ’10. PaStarr, a two time all-MIAC selection, led the Scots last year in rebounding, in which she was fifth in the MIAC, and blocked shots. Baltzer, chosen twice for all-MIAC honorable mention, led the women in scoring and field goal percentage. Last year’s small forward, Elise Pagel ’09, graduated, leaving the position to be filled most likely by Alyssa Lunde ’10. Rounding out the backcourt are guards Danielle Johnson ’10 and Eartha Bell ’10.

The team’s biggest strength lies in their dynamic frontcourt. In addition to PaStarr and Baltzer, forwards Holly Schiedermayer ’12 and centers Majra Mucic ’11 and Audrey Mills ’12 will provide strength down low in rebounding, scoring, and shot blocking.

“The post is really strong”, said guard Jessica Rene ’12. “We are getting a better inside-outside game too. This year we’re trying to be more offensive minded and aggressive”.

The women’s first game is a non-conference match against Whitman College on November 20th. Hopefully the women can redeem themselves from last year’s loss to begin what could easily be a successful season.