2010-11 Women's Basketball Season Preview: New faces and new opportunites are aplenty
Athletics - posted on 11/10/2010
It's a new year for the Lakeland College women's basketball team, and with it brings several new faces and plenty of new opportunities.
The Muskies are hoping to continue the success they enjoyed last season when Lakeland posted a 22-7 and made another NCAA Division III Tournament appearance. Their 13-4 record in Northern Athletics Conference play was good enough for second in the North Division.
Lakeland head coach Teri Johnson knows that some young players need to play well for the team to deliver another solid NAC campaign.
"We have some experience in our two seniors and a few returnees that saw some extended minutes last season," Johnson said. "We can't make them carry the load though. Our young players need to step up fast and play a major role in leading the team. We have a lot of talent, and everyone needs to play to their potential and work to fill the void left by our graduated seniors."
Lakeland has 11 players returning from last season, which ended with a loss to DePauw in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
"This is a different team," Johnson said. "We are a quicker team and are different on the inside. The door is wide open as to who will replace the seniors. Overall, we just need leadership. I believe that seniors tend to play with a greater sense of urgency and feel a need to carry the team. We need them to play within themselves, and if they do that, they should have good seasons."
Senior guard Mary Dennewitz (Chicago, Ill.), an honorable mention all-conference selection, is Lakeland's highest returning scorer at 9.6 points per game last season. Dennewitz started 28 of 29 games last season and is the most experienced player on the roster.
"Mary brings energy and experience to the floor," Johnson said. "She understands what we are doing and will be a key player in our success this year."
Chelsea Coenen (Wrightstown, Wis.), another senior guard, will play a larger role than last season. Coenen returns as the second highest scorer at 6.9 points per game. She started 19 games last season, and will be expected to play an even larger role this season.
"Chelsea is a solid player at the guard position," Johnson said. "She brings intensity every day. She's a strong leader and a great asset to our program."
Sophomore guard Dana Henrichs (Fall Creek, Wis.) will also play a larger role after averaging 3.5 points and 16.5 minutes per game last year. "Dana is our top defender" Johnson said. "She provides speed on both the offensive and defensive end and has a good understanding of our offense."
On the inside, Lakeland will look to transfers Rachel Diedrich (Two Rivers, Wis.) and Mallory Magee (Stockton, Ill.) to add height and a physical presence in the post. They will also provide leadership on a young and inexperienced team.
"We are excited to have Rachel and Mallory in our program," Johnson said. "They make us bigger inside and give us some collegiate experience. They understand what it takes to play on the college level and that experience will help us."
Freshman guard Aimee Thrune (Prairie du Sac, Wis.) has had a good preseason and has made an impression on the coaches.
"Aimee has been practicing very well," Johnson said. "She has proven to be a mature player and she has a lot of the leadership qualities that we look for in a point guard. She is coming along very well and could be a key role player for us this year."
Freshmen guards Taylor Jandrin (Forestville, Wis.) and Bailee Lawrence (Manistique, Mich.) will be solid role players this season.
"Taylor and Bailee are excellent additions," Johnson said. "Although they are young, they are both talented, solid shooters who are capable of hitting big shots."
Lakeland will be tested early again this year. The Muskies open with four home games this season beginning with Carroll on Nov. 15.
"With Carroll it's always a grudge match," Johnson said. "We play each other tough every year, and they provide us with a good test before our tournament. Hopefully the girls can find comfort playing at home and can put together a good start on the home court."
The Muskies annual Tip-Off Tournament begins Friday, Nov. 19, against Augustana, with a game against either Loras College or the University of Chicago (a 2010 NCAA tournament team) on Nov. 20.
"The tournament is always a fan favorite," Johnson said. "Opening with Augustana will be good competition for us and make for a tough test. No matter who we get the second game, whether it is Loras or Chicago, it will definitely be two tough games for our young team."
The Muskies then have five straight conference games, the first against Alverno College on Nov. 27. After non-conference games against Beloit College, Finlandia and Northland College, the Muskies finish the season with 13 conference games.
"With such a young team, I believe it is important to take the season one game at a time," Johnson said. "We need to be focused on the game at hand and not take our practices for granted. We need to be prepared and stay focused to accomplish our goals as a team."
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