This Saturday the Maroons will kick off their season at home against regional opponent Lake Forest. In their 2014–2015 season, the Maroons earned an 18–7 record and brought home a UAA Championship.
In that stretch, they averaged 71.0 points, 40.0 rebounds, and 6.8 three-pointers a game and held a 12–2 record in UAA Conference play, winning an impressive 12 games in a row. The South Siders will certainly look to continue their success in the 2015-2016 season, but they will be doing so with a new look to the team.
After graduating six seniors, including All-Region honoree Claire Devaney (12.7 PPG/6.4 RPG) and All UAA-selections Morgan Donovan (9.8 PPG) and Hannah Ballard (7.5 PPG/4.3 RPG), Chicago’s roster now lists ten first and second-years and five upperclassmen.
Last season’s top performers, fourth-year guard Caitlin Moore (7.0 PPG/3.9 RPG), third-year forward Britta Nordstrom (7.9 PPG/4.0 RPG/honorable mention All-UAA), and third-year guard Stephanie Anderson (5.4 PPG/4.5 RPG/2.1 SPG/honorable mention all-UAA), will all look to increase their impact this season. The current fourth-years, Caitlin Moore, Paige Womack, and Helen Petersen, look to lead the team in their quest to win the UAA again and earn a bid to the NCAA tournament.
In her fourth season as head coach, Carissa Sain Knoche hopes to ride their momentum from last season and will be looking to try out different combinations of players in the Lake Forest game.
When asked about her thoughts on the team’s new personnel, Sain Knoche said, “Graduating six players off of last year’s team is certainly an adjustment. They were wonderful, and we do miss them. But, with every graduating class, new opportunities emerge, and that is what is most exciting for us this season. I think the returners on our team all learned a lot from last year’s seniors—both on and off the court—and now they have a chance to showcase that.”
“Every team is different, and we will coach the group in front of us. We adjust based on the make-up of personalities, styles of play and things of that nature. We’re not focused at all on under-class versus upper-class,” she said when asked about the disadvantages of a much younger team.
The Chicago team faces a Lake Forest team that finished with a 12–11 record last year. The Foresters are led by head coach Tamlyn Tills, who is entering her eighth season in charge. Having also graduated a large class last year, the Foresters will be displaying new faces in the season opener. Their team is led by a second team All-MWC fourth-year guard, Michelle Ricolcol, who averaged 9.3 PPG last season. In the first Midwest Conference pre-season Coaches Poll, Lake Forest was picked to finish fourth.
Both Chicago and Lake Forest will be searching for their first win of the season this Saturday at 1 p.m. in the Competition Gym at Ratner Athletics Center. One will be looking to build upon their successes from last season, and one will be looking to ignite a new spark in their program. Regardless, with the new season on the horizon, all slates are wiped clean, and the Maroons and Foresters will battle for a good start to the 2015–2015 season.