The Augustana women’s basketball team will step on the court this weekend following its previous historic season, when it won a 2018 NSIC Tournament title, a trip to the Sweet 16 and a 29-4 record (the most wins in the program’s history).
Now, having graduated five seniors, it could be said that the women’s basketball team is entering a year of rebuilding. Assistant coach Katie Bourk, however, doesn’t want to call it that.
“A lot of people are going to call it a rebuilding year, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be,” Bourk said. “We lost a lot of kids, but we still have some experience back, and if we’ve done our job in player development and recruiting the right kids, hopefully we’ve got the right pieces to now keep it going.”
Although the team is young, both Bourk and head coach Dave Krauth, who is entering his 30th season with the team, said the women shown the same level of competitive spirit and camaraderie as in practice as last year.
“We’ll probably have a few bumps in the road or we may show signs that we’re inexperienced, but I feel our talent level is pretty good, so I feel we’re going to be capable, we’re going to be competitive,” Krauth said. “In a lot of ways, we have some similarities to last year’s team.”
With a handful of sophomores who redshirted as freshmen, this year is the chance for new players to gain experience and playing time on the court, says Bourk.
“We maybe don’t have that go-to kid who we know is going to go out and get us 20 points every night, but we’ve got three or four players that are very capable of getting you 15 to 20 points,” Bourk said. “It could just be a different kid every night.”
Players to watch out for this season, she said, are seniors and returning starters Lynsey Prosser and Shelby Selland, as well as juniors Hannah Metoxen and Abby Hora.
“We have a lot of natural talent,” Selland said. “We know [the new players] can do it, and we know they have a lot of skill. We just have to get everyone on the same page.”
Echoing Bourk, junior Danni Honner said that getting used to communicating with each other on the court is something they’ve been focusing on.
“Not a lot of us have played with each other in certain ways, but it’s been flowing a lot better,” Honner said. “There’s definitely an improvement from the beginning of the year.”
Sophomore Hannah Mitby commented on the importance of communication during the game.
“Once you connect on the court, it’s really fun to play with people, because you know what they’re going to do and they know what you’re going to do,” Mitby said.
In addition, the team feels its strongest trait is its athleticism.
“We’re really athletic and we’re really fast—way faster than we’ve been in previous years,” Metoxen said.
And despite being called young, Selland said the label may just work to their advantage.
“We’re young, so we’re going to be underrated this season,” Selland said. “But we just might catch them off guard. We’ll catch the other teams by surprise.”
The team will travel to Kansas City, Missouri this weekend to play its first two games of the season against Washburn University and Southern Nazarene University.
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