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How will the WIAC women's basketball race shake out?

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JOHN N. BARRY
November 16, 2007

UW-STEVENS POINT


Coach: Shirley Egner (19th year, 308-159).


2006-07 record: 18-7, 10-6 in WIAC.


Returning starters: Four, including senior guard Laura Neuenfeldt, first-team, All-WIAC in 2007; senior forward Chelsea Kranz, honorable mention All-WIAC in 2007.


Top newcomers: Freshman Christin Coles out of Hustisford, a second-team all-state selection in 2006; freshman Andrea Flease, who led New London to the Division 3 state title game in 2007.


Outlook: The Pointers are ranked 24th in the NCAA Division III preseason poll and won back-to-back WIAC titles in 2004 and 2005.


Stevens Point returns nearly 90 percent of its scoring from a team that ranked ninth nationally a year ago in three-point field goal percentage at 36.6.


UW-PLATTEVILLE


Coach: Tina Kuhle (fourth year, 34-44).


2006-07 record: 11-16, 4-12 in WIAC.


Returning starters: Three.


Top newcomers: Guard Nicole Evans of Milwaukee Juneau and center Ashley Callahan of Dubuque (Hempstead), Iowa, lead a talented freshmen class.


Outlook: The Pioneers are one of the youngest teams in the WIAC, and don’t have a senior on the roster.


Six players return who scored at least 15 points in a game a year ago. Juniors Lisa Wubben and Lisa Grantman, along with sophomore Brianna Klaas, scored 23 at least once last season.


UW-OSHKOSH


Coach: Terri Schumacher (third year, 27-24).


2006-07 record: 8-16, 4-12 in WIAC.


Returning starters: Two, including senior guard Whitney Tyriver, first team All-WIAC in 2007.


Top newcomers: Tiffany Pugh of Waterford and Amanda Aubry of De Pere highlight a freshmen class of 11.


Outlook: The Titans have finished third or higher in the WIAC 17 of the last 18 years, but will be hard-pressed to duplicate the success with a young and inexperienced team.


Oshkosh enters the season on a school-record eight-game losing streak. Gone are nearly 1,000 points and 500 rebounds from a team that finished 8-16 a year ago.


UW-LA CROSSE


Coach: Lois Heeren (ninth year, 86-118).


2006-07 record: 13-13, 7-9 in WIAC.


Returning starters: Two, including junior forward Mackenzie Hunter, first-team All-WIAC in 2006 and honorable mention in 2007.


Top newcomers: Freshman Taylor Larson could provide the outside scoring threat that the Eagles have been lacking. Larson finished as Lake Geneva Badger High’s second all-time leading scorer.


Outlook: The Eagles hope to play better on the road after a stellar 10-3 home record last season. La Crosse finished the 2007-08 season with five of its final eight games at home.


Hunter became the first Eagle player to receive All-WIAC recognition in consecutive seasons since Jessica Edwards in 1996 and 1997.


UW-RIVER FALLS


Coach: Cindy Hovet (eighth year, 97-84).


2006-07 record: 16-11, 9-7 in WIAC.


Returning starters: One.


Top newcomers: Sarah Schoeneck of Bloomington (Jefferson), Mn., and Latasha Wittmeyer of Lakeville (North), Mn., lead a strong freshmen class.


Outlook: Graduation hit the Falcons hard. Only one starter returns and there are only two seniors on the roster.


The Falcons lost their top seven scorers from a year ago and will likely struggle to reach .500.


UW-STOUT


Coach: Mark Thomas (21st year, 355-180).


2006-07 record: 23-6, 13-3 in WIAC.


Returning starters: Three.


Top newcomers: Freshman Tricia VanVreede out of Kimberly earned honorable mention all-state in 2007; Janesville Craig graduate Niki Skillman is a freshman forward for the Blue Devils.


Outlook: Who picks up the slack left by Clinton’s Kelsey Duoss, the two-time WIAC Player of the Year?


The Blue Devils are the three-time defending WIAC regular-season and tournament champion. Six players return that saw action in all 29 games a year ago.


UW-EAU CLAIRE


Coach: Tonja Englund (eighth year, 143-54).


2006-07 record: 19-9, 11-5 in WIAC.


Returning starters: Five, including junior guard Heidi Arciszewski and senior forward Michelle Burns, both first-team All-WIAC selections in 2007.


Top newcomers: Freshman Ashley Hightower out of La Crosse Logan was two-time all-state honorable mention; freshman Hannah Mesick of Chatfield, Minn., was also two-time all-state honorable mention.


Outlook: The Blugolds are the choice to snap Stout’s three-year grip on the WIAC. All five starters return from a team that went undefeated at home a year ago.


The returning starters accounted for all but 66 of the 1,725 points scored a year ago. Eau Claire received five of the nine first-place votes with UW-Whitewater second with two votes.


UW-SUPERIOR


Coach: Donald Mulhern (second year, 8-17).


2006-07 record: 8-17, 2-14 in WIAC.


Returning starters: Three.


Top newcomers: Elkhorn’s Becky Roberts and Gigi Hudson out of Chicago are part of a freshmen class that is expected to contribute immediately.


Outlook: The eight wins a year ago were the most for Superior since the 2003-04 team won 10 games.


The Yellowjackets have only one senior on the roster and nine freshmen.


UW-WHITEWATER


Coach: Keri Carollo (sixth year, 65-64).


2006-07 record: 19-7, 12-4 in WIAC.


Returning starters: Five, including preseason All-America selection Lindsey Buechner, a senior forward out of Middleton.


Top newcomers: Kaleigh Veltus, the Racine County Player of the Year in 2007 and Union Grove’s all-time leading scorer, is part of a solid freshmen class; Monroe’s Kelsey Hendrickson, a sophomore, helped lead the Cheesemakers to a state title in 2006.


Outlook: The Warhawks are not going to sneak up on anybody this season. Five starters return off a team that won 19 games a year ago.


Whitewater has not won a WIAC title since 1986, but could make a run this season.



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