The Griffon women’s basketball team is ready to bring a banner back to the Fieldhouse as they prepare to start the new season.
In the MIAA preseason media and coaches polls, released on Thursday, Oct. 24, the team is ranked No.8 to start the 2013-14 season.
For the MIAA preseason media poll, Western locked up the No.8 spot with 187 points, finishing behind Northwest (201) and just ahead of Missouri Southern (171).
It all looked about the same in the MIAA preseason coaches poll, where Western locked up the No.8 spot with 90 points. Once again, they finished behind Northwest (94) and ahead of Missouri Southern (72).
“We play in the second toughest conference in the country, five teams right now are in the top 25 or are getting votes,” head coach Rob Edmisson said. “It’s a conference that’s kind of like a marathon; it’s a long process. There’s a bunch of good teams.”
Western wrapped up the 2012-13 season with a 16-12 overall record and with a 8-10 record in the MIAA. Collectively, Western was 9-3 in the MWSU Fieldhouse, but struggled on the road at 6-7.
The Griffons made it to their third straight trip to the MIAA Tournament. They defeated Pittsburg State in the first round, winning 71-67. However, they fell just shy in the next round. They finished up their tournament run with a heartbreaking loss to Central Missouri, losing 54-53.
This season, the Griffons return eight players from last season’s squad. They also have brought in six junior college transfers and three freshmen.
The three freshmen, Stephanie Lichtenauer, Megan Rasmussen and Tanner Tripp, have plenty to provide to help Western make their next trip to the Tournament. Lichtenauer and Tripp both played at Mill Valley HS, where they won second place at State in 2013. Rasmussen averaged 43 percent shooting from the field and 78 percent shooting from the free throw line.
The six transfers, Friday Chuol, Krysten Crawford, Alexis Gray, Tiara Hall, Quenisha Lockett and Ariana Novak, have to make their marks to earn playing time.
Under his second-year as head coach, Edmisson and the Griffons hope to improve continuously throughout the season.
“I think we’ve got some pieces to the puzzle, and if we can get it put together, I think this team has a chance to go a long way this year,” Edmisson said.
While the team isn’t boasting the normal “win the MIAA conference” goal, the Griffons are definitely leaning on their team chemistry to get them back to the Tournament for the fourth straight year.
“We mainly just want to make sure we’re competitive and that we give ourselves a chance to win every night, that’s our number one goal,” Edmisson said. “We think we’ve got a chance to be successful.”