2014-15 Basketball Outlook
Numerous opportunities await the Saint Mary’s basketball team in the upcoming 2014-15 season, and a strong group of experienced returners looks to make the most of those chances and put the Belles in contention to earn a spot in the MIAA Tournament at the end of February.
Ariana Paul ’15, Krista Knapke ’16, Eleni Shea ’16, Maddie Kohler ’16, and Sarah Macius ’16 look to lead the way for the Belles in the season ahead for ninth-year head coach Jenn Henley.
With the graduation of two-time All-MIAA Second Team honoree Shanlynn Bias ’14, Paul is the Belles’ leading returning player in points, rebounds, assists, and steals from a season ago. An MIAA Player of the Week in each of the past two seasons, Paul had a team-best five double-doubles during her junior season while scoring at least double-digit points in all but four games last year.
Knapke, Kohler, Shea, and Macius have combined to score over 1,200 points over their first two seasons with the Belles. Each member of the junior class saw playing time in at least 23 games a year ago with several players seeing increases in a handful of statistical categories. Knapke increased her point output by nearly two points per contest while Kohler nearly doubled her assists and steals totals from her freshman season.
That core group of upper classmen will be charged with guiding seven freshmen and further helping develop three sophomores throughout the 2014-15 season. Building on a group of student-athletes who were five points or less away from taking wins in six games a season ago, the Belles have the drive and motivation to turn those defeats into victories while flying under the radar this winter.
The Belles will have ample opportunities to prove they are ready to compete with some of the top programs in the region and nation. The schedule already features three teams ranked in the USA Today Preseason Top 25 Division III Women’s Coaches’ Poll and currently has the potential for Saint Mary’s to take on five ranked programs. The Belles are set to face off against Hope (No. 4), Wheaton (No. 19), and Carthage (No. 20). Conference foe Calvin was receiving several votes in the same poll while St. Thomas (No. 13) will also participate in the Carthage Classic at the end of December.
The Belles open up the season at home on Saturday, November 15 when they host nationally-ranked Wheaton at 1:30 p.m. The conference portion of the season begins on Wednesday, December 3 when Saint Mary’s welcomes Alma to Angela Athletic Facility for a 7:30 p.m. contest.