The 2019-20 women's basketball season in the Minnesota College Athletic Conference will move into Divisional play over the next few weeks with the ultimate goal of reaching the Region XIIIA or Region XIIIB Tournament in late February; Region XIII post-season tournaments are held at the highest seed in the MCAC Northern and Southern Division champions. Northland's Brooke Heggie (pictured), Anoka-Ramsey's Mikayla Homola and Rainy River's Daeja Monroe each earned All-America honors last year and have moved on to 4-year college programs this season. Read on for previews of women's MCAC programs in both Divisions, with information as provided by Conference coaches.
Early season scores look to show what should make for an interesting and competitive race in the North; Northland head coach Shannon Nelson earned her 200th win as a Pioneer last season, while Rainy River mentor Dieter Humbert enters his 27th year leading the Voyageurs in 2019-20. Hibbing Community College is coming off of their first-ever NJCAA National Championship Tournament appearance in 2018-19 and will be led this season by Kasey Palmer who takes over for Kate Brau. Lake Superior will head into their second season of competition under Adam Johnson, as the Ice Hawks look to build on a strong first season last year. Mesabi Range College will also look to second-year coach Brad Matuzcak for leadership on the sideline as the Norse finished 6-19 last year and look to move up the MCAC North ladder. Two new coaches will be looking to make their impact on the Northern Division, as Nicki Kosik takes over at Vermilion Community College and former ICC standout Kristin Smith leads Itasca Community College after concluding a successful playing career at St. Scholastica. Brian Voight guided Central Lakes College to the post-season in 2018-19 and will be looking to build on that success in his second year in charge in Brainerd.
In the South, Anoka-Ramsey began the early part of the season in 'Receiving Votes' category and recently moved into the Top 10 NJCAA Division III Basketball national poll with a strong start to the year under veteran coach David DeWitt. Two programs, Minnesota West CTC and Ridgewater College, both have experienced head coaches at the helm heading into their MCAC season, with Rosalie Hayenga-Hostikka (MnWest) and Jodi Holliman (Ridgewater), respectively. St. Cloud Technical & Community College welcomes Charles Thompson to the Cyclone sideline and return several student-athletes from their 2018-19 campaign. Western Technical College - coming off of their first-ever NJCAA National tournament appearance - will be led by Brent Thill, who takes over for Chad Dull who is now the vice-president at Minnesota State-Southeast. Riverland Community College returns to MCAC action this season, and the Blue Devils have picked up wins over the JV team at Dakota State University and Lake Superior in the first few weeks of the season under head coach Andew Kaiser.
The MCAC women's basketball season will begin with Inter-Divisional weekends after Thanksgiving in which Southern and Northern Division teams face of in a Friday-Saturday format; MCAC Inter-Divisional games do not count in MCAC Divisional standings but are reflected in a team's overall mark. The first round of Northern Division action will start on Friday, December 20, while Southern Division teams will open up Divisional play in January.
For all things women's basketball in the Minnesota College Athletic Conference, go to: https://www.mcacsports.org/sports/wbkb/index
Head Coach: David DeWitt, 14th year at Anoka Ramsey, 296-96 Overall
Assistant Coaches: Jessica Pelzel, 4th year at Anoka Ramsey
2018-19 Season: 22-6 overall; 10-2 in division play; 2nd place in the division
Key Returning Athletes: Charo Nickens, Brooklyn Park, MN; Adaya Sandifer, St. Paul, MN; Raiyne Adams, St. Paul, MN; Abby Howe, Blaine, MN; Chloe Vezies, St. Anthony, MN; Arlandus Montgomery, St. Paul, MN
Key Incoming Athletes: Ariana Owens, St. Paul, MN; Bonita Franco, Inver Grove Heights, MN; Madi Peschl, Foley, MN; Kiley Paggen, Foley, MN; Hailey Babcock, Blaine, MN;
Coach DeWitte on the Golden Ram season: "We return 6 players from last year - including 4 starters which finished 22-6 overall last year and 10-2 in division play. Returning is Charo Nickens - a 1st team All REgion selection last year, Adaya Sandifer - an Honorable Mention All Division Selection and Raiyne Adams - an All Defensive selection last year. Added to the mix is transfer Ariann Owens giving us 7 very experienced players. With an incoming freshman class of 10 players we should have depth at most positions."
Former Golden Rams competing for 4-year programs in 2019-20: Amanda Lindsay, St Cloud State University; Mikayla Homola Missouri Valley University
Head Coach : Brian Voigt, 2nd season at CLC, 18-10 Overall
Assistant Coaches: Cassey Veith, Assistant Coach
2018-19 Season: 18-10 overall, 11-5 in North Division, 3rd Place North
Key Returning Athletes: Paige Wallevand, F, Henning, MN; Maggi Fellerman, G, Aitkin, MN; Lillee Hardee, G, Brainerd, MN; Kali Mammenga, F, Little Falls, MN
Key Incoming Athletes: Katie Johnson, G, Verndale, MN; Emilee White, G, New York Mills, MN; Megan Lanhart, F, Braham, MN; Hayley Youngbauer, G, Verndale, MN
Coach Voight on the Raiders season: "I expect our team to be able to pressure the ball on defense and set the tempo while on offense."
Follow the Central Lakes Women's Basketball team on Twitter: @LakesWomen
Head Coach: Kasey Palmer, 1st year, 0-0
Assistant Coach : Kiersten Apel, 1st year.
2018-19 Season: 29-3 overall, 15-1 in North Division,Tie-1st Place North. NJCAA National Tournament
Key Returning Athletes: Alexis Desjarlait, Guard, Red Lake, MN; Klaryssa Whelan, Forward, Bemidji, MN.
Key Incoming Athletes : Kaylyn Bowen, Guard, Rush City, MN; Bailey Roscoe, Guard, Sauk Rapids, MN; Shayler Lislegard, Guard, Embarass, MN
Coach Palmer on the Cardinal Season: "With only two key returning players, incoming freshman will look to make big contributions, especially with speed."
Notable about the Hibbing Cardinals: To conclude their 2018-2019 season, Hibbing Cardinals took their first trip to the NJCAA Division III National Tournament, placing 5th.
Head Coach: Amber Smith, 1st year, 0-0
Assistant Coach: Robin Guertin, Jon Olson
Key Returning Athletes: Maddy Shepard, Northland Remer HS, MN.
Key Incoming Athletes: Haley Murray, Jordin MnCartney, Grand Rapids, MN; Michaela Kruger, St. Croix Falls, Maddi Taylor, Thorton HS; Tayleona Frazier, North Chicago HS; Caroline Cheney, Blackduck HS.
Notable about the Itasca Vikings: First-year coach Amber Smith takes over for John Bauer at Itasca in 2019-20; Smith played for ICC in 2015-17 and moved on to compete for College of St. Scholastica in 2017-19. Smith also works in the Deer River elementary school district.
Head Coach: Adam Johnson, 2nd season 8-14 Overall
Assistant Coaches: Andrea Hakamaki, Dana Tekavec
2018-19 MCAC Season: 8-14 Overall, 7-9 in North Division, Tie for 5th Place North
Key Returning Athletes: Carly Hansen, Forward, Hermantown, MN; Bailey Wheeler, Guard, Barnum, MN; Miia Marple, Forward, Duluth, MN
Key Incoming Athletes : Sierra Giffrow Guard, Braham, MN; Kate Stone, Forward, Cook, MN; Mindy Campbell, Forward, Braham, MN; Taylor McIntosh, Forward, Salt Lake City, Utah
Coach Johnson on the IceHawk season: "We are excited for year two of IceHawk's basketball! We believe that we will build on our success and strong finish last year. We have hard working and competitive student-athletes and we hope to get better day after day."
Follow the Lake Superior Women's Basketball Program on Twitter: @LSCWomensBBall, @LSC_Duluth
Head Coach: Brad Matuszak, 2nd season, 6-19 Overall
Assistant Coach: Charlotte Overbye
2018-19 Season: 6-19 overall, 4-12 in the North Division, 7th place
Key Returning Athletes: Hailey Aho, G, Virginia, MN; Haley Hansen, C, Iron, MN
Key Incoming Athletes: Mattison Bennett, F, Mountain Iron, MN; Madisen Overbye, G, Mountain Iron, MN; Christianna Monger, F, St. Louis, MO; Jazmine Manning, G, Monroe, LA; Ashley Sanders, G, Monroe, LA
Coach Matuszak on the 2019-20 Norse season: "We have the potential to be a top team in our conference if we can play team ball."
Follow the Norse on Twitter at: @norsewbb
Head Coach: Rosalie Hayenga-Hostikka, 4th season at MnWest, 69-40 Overall
Assistant Coaches: Kristen Andersen, Tanner Gunnink
2018-19 Season: 15-12 Overall; 7-5 Southern Division, 4th place South
Key Returning Athletes: Emily Shaffer, F, Worthington, MN ; Emily Schroer, G, Fulda, MN ; Lexie Ramsey, G, Rock Rapids, IA
Key Incoming Athletes: Anna Cadassou, W, France; Justine Bernazeau, G, France; Evelyn Othow, F, Worthington, MN; Melissa Brandt, P, Jackson, MN; Alanna Goetzinger, P, Chatfield, MN; Teylor Albers, G, Bismarck, ND
Coach Hayenga-Hostikka on the Lady Jay season: "We are excited about the upcoming season. We have good depth this season and strong sophomore leadership. A lot will depend on the development of our incoming freshman."
Head Coach : Shannon Nelson, 10th season at Northland, 215-50 Overall
Assistant Coaches: Beth Tvedt, Alicia Backer
2018-19 Season: 23-5 Overall, 14-1 in Northern Division, Tied for 1st Place North
Key Returning Athletes: Carly Mekash, F, Greenbush, MN; Janie Wunderlich, G, Perham, MN; Jozi Halvorson, G, Red Lake Falls, MN; Bailey Greene, F, Thief River Falls, MN; Holly Steer, F, Warren, MN
Key Incoming Athletes: Emma Duden, G, Red Lake Falls, MN; Macy Skyberg, G, East Grand Forks, MN; Leah Sip, F, Ada, MN; Emma Waling, G, Roseau, MN
Coach Nelson on the Pioneer season: "We hope to be competitive again in the Northern Division. We will have to rely on our defense and some key newcomers to come in and make immediate contributions."
Former Pioneers competing for 4-year programs in 2019-20: Brooke Heggie, Montana Tech; Kelsey Kainz, UW Stout;
Follow the Pioneer Women's Basketball Program on Twitter: @NCTCPioneers
Head Coach: Dieter Humbert, entering 27th season, 315-250 Overall
Assistant Coaches: Vilawn Mobley, Student Assistant
2018-19 Season: 11-17 Overall, 9-6 Northern Division, 4th Place Northern Division
Key Returning Athletes: Tykayla Degrate, Center Waco/TX
Key Incoming Athletes: Arcadya Conway Gaurd Houston/TX ; Addy Anderson, Gaurd Houston/TX
Coach Humbert on the Voyageur season: "Excited to develop the young, raw talent. Will be a work in progress but a potentially high ceiling!"
Former Voyageurs competing at 4-year colleges in 2019-20: Davane Gross, Iowa Wesleyan; Daeja Monroe, Jarvis Christian; Meoshia Peterson, Jarvis Christian.
Head Coach: Jodi Holleman, 5th Season at Ridgewater, 25-65 Overall
Assistant Coaches: Abby Oberg
2018-19 Season: Overall, 2-10 in MCAC South Division
Key Returning Athletes: Morgan Gronli,Guard, BBE; Kendra Kuczek,Guard/Minnewaska; Sarah Frederick/Guard/Alexandria
Key Incoming Athletes: Sarah Ibarra, Guard, Sleepy Eye; Kaitlyn Rindfleisch, Post, Red Rock Central (Lamberton); Megan Lauthen, Post, Brandon-Evansville
Coach Holleman on the Warriors season: "We will finally have some depth this year in every position. We will also have some experience with six sophomores. We are hitting the fundamentals hard and hope to be very competitive this season."
Head Coach: Andrew Kaiser, 1st year, 0-0
Assistant Coach: Zach Hinrichs
Key Returning Athletes: Samantha Siskow, G, Ostrander, MN ; Anna Carmody, F, Mobridge, SD
Key Incoming Athletes : Megan Shanahan, G, St. Charles, MN ; KieJuana VanZant, F, Austin, MN
Coach Kaiser on the Blue Devil season: "Expecting progress week by week, also rebuilding a program to become successful."
Head Coach: Chuck Thompson, 1st Year
Assistant Coach : Lamar Carter, Assistant Coach
2018-19 Season : 3-21, 0-12 in South Division
Key Returning Athletes: Abbie Wuertz, Paynesville/MN; Kiara Coops, Robbinsdale/MN, Shania Nahring, Ogilvie/MN; Julianna Cottier, Minneapolis/MN, Maria Stokes, St Paul/MN; Jen Agbellessessi, Minneapolis/MN
Key Incoming Athletes: Cece Bartkowitz, Swanville/MN
Coach Thompson on the Cyclone season: "Many returning players with new coaching staff, we hope to show steady improvement and play competitve basketball in the MCAC South this season."
To Follow Cyclone Women's Basketball on Twitter, go to: @SCTCCWBB, @SCTCCAthletics
Head Coach: Nicki Kosik, 1st year, 0-0
2018-19 Season: 3-21 overall, 3-12 North Division, 7th place
Key Returning Athletes: Terri Sutton, F, St. Paul MN; Alexis Hughes, F, Warrensville OH
Key Incoming Athletes: Keena Alik, G, Cleburne TX
Coach Kosik on the Vermilion season: "We are hoping to improve upon last year's season and start building a program that will not be taken lightly. We plan to work hard to improve each day and play to the best of our abilities against each opponent we face."
Head Coach: Brent Thill, 1st year HC
2018-19 Season: 21- 7 Overall, 12- 0 MCAC South, Champion. NJCAA National Tournament participant.
Key Returning Athletes: Caitlin Young, G, Holmen WI; Makenna Gabel, F, Cochrane WI; Lindsey Murphy, G, Necedah WI;
Key Incoming Athletes: Madalyn Drury, G, Highland WI; Jaclynn Freit, F, Bangor WI;
Coach Thill on the Cavalier season: "This is definitely a transition year with a lot of new information, concepts, and techniques. We have a good group of competitors, and will compete hard in every game."
Follow the Western Tech Women's Basketball program on Twitter: Cavalier WBB @WbbCavalier
The Minnesota College Athletic Conference is the organizational body for NJCAA-affiliated two-year technical and community college athletic programs in the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, as well as select member colleges in North Dakota and Wisconsin. The mission of the Minnesota College Athletic Conference is to advance intercollegiate athletics by providing an engaging and supportive environment for success of our student athletes and competition among member institutions. The MCAC is committed to the guiding principles of encouraging the development and success of student athletes, promoting the integrity, honesty and loyalty to member schools as well as upholding the sustainability of conference athletic programs.
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