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Women's Basketball Ready To Open Season At Hope Tourney
Posted: Wednesday, November 15, 2006
EAU CLAIRE - The UW-Eau Claire women's basketball team will begin its regular season Friday night when it faces Baldwin-Wallace College (OH) in the first game of the Hope College Tip-off Tournament.
The Blugolds will look to improve from last year's 13-13 record. Eau Claire has finished .500 or better overall and in conference play for 19 consecutive seasons. The Blugolds are predicted to finish third in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) behind UW-Stout and UW-Stevens Point.
Eau Claire has 10 letterwinners returning from last year's squad. The Blugolds, however, don't have any seniors on their roster. The Blugolds will be led by junior Michelle Burns (Jr.-Eau Claire, WI/North), who only played in 15 of the 26 games last season due to injury. In those 15 games, Burns averaged 11.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game.
In Burns' absence last season, freshman Heidi Arciszewski (So.-Thorp, WI) stepped up and was the team's go to player. Arciszewski was an honorable mention all-conference selection last season. She scored in double-figures in 12 of the final 14 games of the season. She averaged 14 points per game during that stretch and led the team in scoring in seven of those games. As a sophomore this season, Arciszewski will look continue that success.
Sophomore forward Brittanni Hakanson (So.-Wheeler, WI/Boyceville) was the second-leading scorer on the team last season, averaging 10.7 points per game. She also led the team with 121 rebounds. She will look for similar numbers this season. The addition of transfers Missy Fremstad (So.-Osseo, WI/Osseo-Fairchild) and Kali Houselog (Jr.-Neenah, WI/Menasha St. Mary's Central) from MSU-Moorhead and Erin Voelker (Jr.-Portage, WI) from Madison Area Technical College should add depth to the Blugolds.
The Blugolds opponent Friday night, Baldwin-Wallace is ranked sixth in the WBCA poll and ninth in the D3hoops.com poll. Last year, Baldwin-Wallace reached the elite eight for the third time in school history and is predicted to win the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) this season. Key players include two-time All-OAC selection forward Michelle White and sophomore guard Amanda Mondrach. Mondrach was the OAC Freshman Player of the Year last season.
The winner will move on to face the winner of the Hope College (MI) and Davenport University (MI) contest. Hope is the defending national champions and is currently riding a 30-game winning streak. Hope is ranked second in the WBCA poll and fourth in the D3hoops.com poll. Hope has yet to lose in their new arena, going 14-0 last season.
The Blugolds and Baldwin-Wallace get underway at 5 p.m. local time in DeVos Fieldhouse on the campus of Hope College Friday night. The consolation and championship games will take place on Saturday afternoon.
- JR -