- Evening, Weekend & Online Programs
- ALUMNI RELATIONS
- GIVING TO LAKELAND
- ABOUT LAKELAND
What a difference a year makes.
Just five players return from the 2007-08 team, which was defeated in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament by
"We gelled well in early-to-mid January from watching us play from mid-December to January,"
"This is a completely different team this year. It's a very young team, and we're different in a lot of aspects."
Johnson's current squad features nine freshmen, two sophomores, three juniors and one senior. The second-year head coach is pleased with the leadership and guidance of the upperclassmen to the younger players.
"I think the majority of our upperclassmen, all five returners, they all came together as a group," Johnson said. "They've really embraced the fact that we've got a large group of younger players coming in, and we really have to get them on the same page. They all took the leadership role in helping those ladies out, not just on the basketball court, but off the basketball court too."
While the roster returns just over 30 percent of its scoring from last year, several key players are back for
Junior forward KC Blahnik (
"KC Blahnik is just a very talented, raw athlete," Johnson said. "She brings a lot of fire and intensity to the court, which is one of the things she's known for. She's an excellent scorer, defender and rebounder, and just an all-around strong basketball player."
Blahnik is joined in the frontcourt by 5-11 junior center Katie Kilton. The
"Somebody who's been a great surprise is Katie Kilton," Johnson said. "I think she's been quietly waiting. She's a quiet scorer in practice so far, and she's done some fairly nice things."
Senior guard/forward Kasey Gussert (
"'Gus' just brings it every single day and knows what we expect from her, and what she expects out of her teammates to make our program better," Johnson said. "Another thing we expect out of her is her scoring ability. I think she's worked hard over the summer, and you can definitely see that in practices, and hopefully throughout the season too."
Sophomore Mary Dennewitz is another player expected to produce in the backcourt. The 5-6 point guard out of
"Mary will need that mental toughness and competitive edge to be able to lead our five we have on the court, and she's doing that very well," Johnson said. "She has the capability to be a strong passer and she's a great penetrator."
After playing her freshman year for the first semester, junior guard Chelsea Coenen returns to the Muskies. A Wrightstown native, Coenen also plays on the
"So far, from what I'm seeing, they've been adaptable, coming in with such a large group and learning a different style, which is more up-tempo than what they're probably used to at the high school level," Johnson said.
Becca Paulson, a 5-7 guard/forward from Clayton, joins the team one year after her sister, Brenda Paulson, played her final season at
"Becca just seems to get our defensive scheme of things a little bit," Johnson said. "She's been around because of her older sister, so I think she has that going for her as well."
Two other freshmen, Becca Tilleman (5-2, PG,
In the frontcourt, freshmen Autumn Gaylor (6-0, F/C,
Sophomore Whitney Diedrich (5-5, G, Hilbert) and freshmen Katelin Minton (5-6, G,
"I'm still getting to learn the freshmen tendencies, who's picking up on what and who's really stepping up from that group," Johnson said.
The Muskies also host their annual Tip-Off Tournament on Nov. 21-22.
"We always like to win our own tournament," Johnson said. "I think it will be a nice, competitive tournament. With Carroll,
For the first time in league history, the NAC has been divided into two divisions, the North and the South. The Muskies will play in the North Division, along with Concordia
Players and coaches around the league are excited about the new scheduling.
"The new divisions bring a little bit of organization to the schedule," Johnson said. "The North is a tough division due to the fact that Concordia Wisconsin and