MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University women’s basketball team opens its season with an exhibition game on Sunday, Oct. 26 against Madonna University. Game time is set for 2 p.m. at the Berry Events Center.
The Wildcats finished 13-14 overall in 2011-12 and 9-10 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, good for third place in the North Division and seventh overall.
Troy Mattson enters his eighth season as the head coach of the Wildcats and returns 11 players from last season, including a strong sophomore class that accounts for 69 percent of the returning players scoring. This year’s squad doesn’t have any seniors.
Sophomores Alyssa Colla and Lauren Gruber will return at the guard position. Colla appeared in all 27 games last season, starting in 26 and was named the team’s freshman of the year. She was second on the team in points (236), minutes (862) and assists (56). Gruber also appeared in all 27 games last season and was second on the team in three-point percentage (45.5), making 22-of-28. Sophomore Sarah Miller and Katelyn Husband will also battle for minutes at the guard positions. Miller scored 19 points in 19 games last season as a freshman and Husband redshirted.
Returning at the forward position are junior Katie Becker and sophomores Brooke Coenen and Abbey DeBruin. Becker appeared in 18 games for the Green and Gold last season. She led the team in field goal percentage, shooting 51.7 percent. Coenen played in 24 games and scored 56 points while pulling down 42 rebounds. DeBruin started 10 games and played in 25, scoring 76 points and tallying 81 boards.
Returning centers are junior Annie Rubendunst and sophomore Courtney Lemon. Both appeared in all games last season while Lemon started 25 and Rubendunst 11. Lemon led the team with 18 blocks and was second in rebounds (112). She posted 10 double digit games with a career-high 20 points and 10 rebounds against Wayne State. Rubendunst recorded 121 points and 83 rebounds on the season, with four double digit games.
Ashley Berth and Emily Bray will also compete at the center position this season after taking a redshirt last year.
Four freshmen and one transfer are the final pieces to coach Mattson’s roster. Sophomore forward Maria Almquist comes to NMU after appearing in 28 games at the University of Minnesota Duluth last season, tallying 132 points and 35 rebounds. Freshmen guards Anna Liewen and Jaime Madalinski along with forwards Nea Makela and Alyson Matkovich will also battle for minutes on the court.
The ‘Cats play another exhibition game at UW-Superior on Nov. 3 before beginning the regular season. Home games with Davenport (Nov. 10) and Finlandia (Nov. 20) and a trip to the Ashland Tournament (Nov. 23-24), where NMU faces Mercyhurst and Urbana, make up the non-conference schedule.
GLIAC action opens with first-ever meetings at Walsh and Malone on Nov. 29 and Dec. 1. Northern hosts 11 conference games starting with Hillsdale and Findlay on Dec. 6 and 8. Also coming to the Berry Events Center are Ashland (Jan. 3), Lake Erie (Jan. 5), Saginaw Valley (Jan. 17), Wayne State (Jan. 19), Michigan Tech (Feb. 2), Grand Valley State (Feb. 7), Ferris State (Feb. 9), Lake Superior State (Feb. 21) and Northwood (Feb. 23).
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