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2007-08 Women's Basketball Season Preview
Posted: Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Coming off their best season since 2003-04, the Blugolds will be an even stronger team this season and will look to contend for the top spot in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC). Last season the Blugolds finished with a 19-9 overall record and third in the WIAC with an 11-5 record. Tonja Englund's squad also lost no games at home last year.
The Blugolds return 11 letterwinners from last season, including all their starters. With a schedule that includes only three home games before January 9, the experience coming back will surely help the Blugolds during that stretch. The season will open on November 17, when the team travels to Decorah, Iowa to take on Luther College, who advanced to the NCAA Division III Sweet Sixteen last season, followed by a trip to De Pere, Wis. on November 20 for a matchup against St. Norbert. The team will then come home for its annual Thanksgiving Showcase on November 23 and 24, and will play another home game against Division II St. Cloud State on November 28. The Blugolds will then begin conference play, followed by a winter trip to San Diego for the Surf n? Slam Tournament December 27 through 29. The tournament will feature a total of eight teams, four of which competed in last year's NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Championship.
"I believe we have tremendous leadership, experience and chemistry on this team with such a large number of returning players from last year's team," said head coach Tonja Englund. "We have also added an outstanding recruiting class this season that we expect to contribute throughout the year. Our focus will be to build on our accomplishments from last season by continuing to play well in Zorn Arena, improving our road record and, ultimately, building toward the opportunity to win a WIAC championship and an NCAA tournament berth."
This year's team will include two All-Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) first team selections from last season, Michelle Burns (Sr.-Eau Claire, WI/North) and Heidi Arciszewski (Jr.-Thorp, WI).
After suffering an injury during the 2005-06 season, Burns bounced back well to be the team's second leading scorer (344 points), leading rebounder (210) and also led the team with 10 blocks. Burns not only made the All-WIAC first team last year, but also made the All-Defensive team, in addition to an All-WIAC honorable mention selection in 2004-05. In the WIAC last season, Burns was eighth in points per game (12.3/game), third in rebounding (7.5/game), seventh in field goal percentage (127 of 292, .451 average) and 14th in free throw percentage (64 of 91, .703 average). Burns is also 19th on the Blugolds' all-time career scoring and rebounding lists, with 803 points and 483 rebounds, and is on pace to break the top ten in each category.
Last year's leading scorer, best free throw shooter, and team MVP Heidi Arciszewski, who was also an All-WIAC honorable mention selection in 2005-06, is 32nd on the Blugolds all-time career scoring list and 31st on the all-time career assists list and will look to move up the list this season. Arciszewski was sixth in the WIAC in average points per game last season (12.6/game, 354 total) and third in free throw percentage (.831).
Other returning starters for the Blugolds are Brittanni Hakanson (Jr.-Wheeler, WI/Boyceville), Amanda Zenner (Sr.-Medford, Wis.), Missy Fremstad (Jr.-Osseo, Wis./Osseo-Fairchild) and Heather Witt (Jr.-Kendall, Wis./Royall), with Fremstad starting 14 games and Witt starting 12. Hakanson was the third in points per game for the Blugolds last year, and was 28th in the WIAC with 7.2 points/game and 15th in offensive rebounds per game (1.79/game, 50 total). Zenner averaged 6.7 points/game last season, good enough for fifth place on the team, was second with 41 steals, first in assists with 71 and second in rebounding with 139. Fremstad was last year's Rookie of the Year and was fourth on the team with 44 assists, while Witt played an important role on defense, winning the team's Defensive Player of the Year award and Most Improved Player, as she was first on the team with 67 steals. The 67 steals also put