November 4, 2010

WIAC Women's Basketball Preview - Blugolds Picked to Finish Second

MADISON, Wis. (Blugolds.com) - University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point is the preseason favorite of the league's sports information directors to win the 2011 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) women's basketball championship.

The Pointers, who enter the season ranked No. 6 nationally in a preseason poll conducted by D3hoops.com, received eight first-place votes in the conference survey. UW-Stevens Point has collected four WIAC first-place trophies and returns four starters, including three All-WIAC performers, from last year's squad that claimed the WIAC Tournament title for the third consecutive season.

Senior Britta Petersen has led the team in scoring the past two seasons and ranks 12th on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,099 points. Head coach Shirley Egner is 18 wins away from reaching 400 in her career and has directed the program to 18-plus wins 10 consecutive seasons.

UW-Eau Claire picked up the remaining first-place vote in the conference poll and is pegged for second in the nine-team league derby. The Blugolds have won nine league crowns and return 94 percent of their scoring and 77 percent of their rebounding from a season ago, including eight of the top-nine scorers. Last year's team recorded just the second win for a No. 6 seed in the 12-year history of the WIAC tournament when they beat UW-La Crosse. The Blugolds have compiled a 42-10 record at Zorn Arena the last four seasons, but will play just two of their nine non-conference contests there.

UW-River Falls posted its highest victory total in 21 years a season ago and returns its top six scorers. The Falcons had the conference's best defense, holding opponents to 57.0 points per game and on four occasions kept them under 40 points. Last year's squad started the season 13-0 - the best start in program archives. The 2010-11 schedule ends with four of six WIAC contests at Karges Center. Head coach Cindy Holbrook has directed the squad to double-digits in wins in nine of her 10 seasons.

UW-Whitewater claimed last year's WIAC title and has won at least 12 WIAC contests four straight seasons. The 2010-11 campaign begins with 10 of the first 12 games away from home where the original floor (since 1967) at Kachel Gymnasium in Williams Center was replaced in the offseason. The Warhawks welcome back senior Dana Thompson who missed all of last year with an injury. She played in all 28 games in 2008-09 and was second on the team in rebounding.

UW-La Crosse returns five of its top-six scorers and 77.0 percent of its scoring and 76.0 percent of its rebounding. The Eagles recorded their fourth winning season in the last five years during the 2009-10 campaign and their 18 victories were the most since 2005-06 when they had 19. The 10 WIAC triumphs they accumulated were the most since 1987-88 when they had 12. Senior Danielle Frank had a triple-double (10 points, 10 rebounds, 10 blocks) against UW-Oshkosh Feb. 10 and finished with 86 blocks - the second-highest single-season mark in program history.

UW-Stout must replace its top-four leading scorers, including 2010 WIAC Player of the Year Julia Hirssig. This year's roster features four seniors, no juniors, 10 sophomores and eight freshmen. Since the 2000-01 campaign, UW-Stout has compiled a 106-20 record at Johnson Fieldhouse and starts this year with six of the first nine contests at home. The Blue Devils have finished first or second in the conference in scoring 10 of the last 11 seasons. Head coach Mark Thomas enters his 24th season as the winningest coach in WIAC history with 404 victories.

UW-Oshkosh has four seniors on this year's roster after not having a senior during either of the last two seasons. Three returning players started every game last year and the Titans had five players that averaged at least eight points per game. UW-Oshkosh has finished third place or higher in the league 17 times in 21 years and won 27 of its last 36 season openers.

UW-Platteville welcomes Megan Wilson as its new head coach. She was a member of UW-Stevens Point's national championship squad in 2002 and served as an assistant coach for the Pointers from 2005-09. This year's squad features 11 returning letterwinners, while last year's team led the WIAC with 10.94 steals per game in conference play.

UW-Superior's three WIAC wins a year ago were the most since the 2003-04 campaign when they recorded four. Included in last season's triumphs were road wins at UW-Stout and UW-River Falls. The win over the Falcons snapped a 40-game conference road losing streak, while the victory over the Blue Devils marked the first win at Johnson Fieldhouse since Feb. 11, 1998.

2010-11 Preseason Predictions--Voted on by WIAC Sports Information Directors
                                                           2009-10 Record
1. UW-Stevens Point (8)                11-5, 24-7
2. UW-Eau Claire (1)                      8-8, 10-17
3. UW-River Falls                            10-6, 18-7
4. UW-Whitewater                           12-4, 21-8
5. UW-La Crosse                            10-6, 18-8
6. UW-Stout                                      10-6, 16-11
7. UW-Oshkosh                               3-13, 8-17
8. UW-Platteville                              5-11, 12-13
9. UW-Superior                                3-13, 8-17
( )--First-Place Votes

Team Tidbits
UW-Eau Claire
Head Coach: Tonja Englund; 11th season at UWEC; 200-84
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 8/3
Starters Returning/Lost: 4/1
Returning All-WIAC: Hannah Mesick, Sr., C (2010-First); Ellen Plendl, Jr., C (2010-Honorable)

UW-La Crosse
Head Coach: Lois Heeren; 18th season (12th at UWL); 187-249 (overall) / 135-147 (UWL)
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 10/6
Starters Returning/Lost: 5/0
Returning All-WIAC: Dana Churchill, Sr., F (2010-First); Danielle Frank, Sr., C (2010-Honorable, Defensive)

UW-Oshkosh
Head Coach: Terri Schumacher; 6th season at UWO; 52-72
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 9/2
Starters Returning/Lost: 5/0
Returning All-WIAC: Shelby Churchill, Sr., F (2009-Honorable)

UW-Platteville
Head Coach: Megan Wilson; 1st season at UWP
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 11/3
Starters Returning/Lost: 2/3
Returning All-WIAC: None

UW-River Falls
Head Coach: Cindy Holbrook; 11th season at UWRF; 137-121
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 10/4
Starters Returning/Lost: 3/2
Returning All-WIAC: Maranda Dohrn, Jr., F (2010-Honorable); Tiffany Gregorich, Jr., G (2009-Honorable, 2010-First)

UW-Stevens Point
Head Coach: Shirley Egner; 22nd season at UWSP; 382-175
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 10/5
Starters Returning/Lost: 4/1
Returning All-WIAC: Cassie Bandow, Jr., G (2010-Honorable); Andrea Flease, Sr., G (2010-First, 2010-Defensive); Britta Petersen, Sr., P (2009-First, 2010-First)

UW-Stout
Head Coach: Mark Thomas; 24th season at UWS; 404-212
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 8/10
Starters Returning/Lost: 2/3
Returning All-WIAC: None

UW-Superior
Head Coach: Donald Mulhern; 19th season (5th at UWS); 201-283 (overall) / 26-74 (UWS)
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 11/2
Starters Returning/Lost: 4/1
Returning All-WIAC: Hailey Hart, Jr., F (2009-Honorable, 2010-Honorable); Connie Urmanski, So., G (2010-Honorable)

UW-Whitewater
Head Coach: Keri Carollo; 9th season at UWW; 138-81
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 13/7
Starters Returning/Lost: 3/2
Returning All-WIAC: None

S M T W T F S
11/4/14 6:00 PM
Women's Basketball
TBA
at UW-Eau Claire
Blue & Gold Game
11/8/14 5:00 PM
Women's Basketball
UW-Eau Claire
at Minn. State-Mankato
Exhibition
11/15/14 8:00 PM
Women's Basketball
Coe College (Iowa)
at UW-Eau Claire
UWEC Tip-Off Classic
11/16/14 5:00 PM
Women's Basketball
Hamline University (Minn.)
at UW-Eau Claire
UWEC Tip-Off Classic
11/18/14 8:00 PM
Women's Basketball
Saint Mary's (Minn.)
at UW-Eau Claire
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