Warhawk women hope to battle for the WIAC basketball title
Will the return of all five starters lead to the school’s first conference championship since 1986? Or will the demands of a grueling WIAC schedule prove too tough to overcome?
Warhawk coach Keri Carollo can’t wait to find out. Whitewater opens the season tonight against Millikin College in the Millikin Tournament in Decatur, Ill.
“I had a vision for this program when I took over, and that was to be able to win on a consistent basis,” said Carollo, now in her the sixth season. “It took us a really long time to turn the corner, but I feel like last year was a start.
“It was exciting to play at the level we played at a year ago. Now, we have to maintain our focus and challenge ourselves this season.”
The Warhawks were 19-7 a year ago—the most wins since the 1994-95 season and only the second winning season in the last seven. Whitewater finished the season, however, on a sour not. UW-Platteville stunned the Warhawks, 75-74, on their home court in the opening game of the WIAC Tournament.
“That last game left a bitter taste with these players,” Carollo said. “Not getting into the tournament was tough to take.
“Playing on the national level is the next step, and we denied ourselves that opportunity by losing at home to Platteville.”
Middleton High graduate Lindsey Buechner leads the list of returnees. The 5-foot-11 senior forward was named to the D3hoops.com preseason All-America team after leading the Warhawks in points (288), rebounds (153), free throws made (85) and scoring average (11.1) last season.
“Lindsey gives us flexibility because she can post up or step out and knock down the shot,” Carollo said of the 2007 All-WIAC first-team selection. “Defensively, she’s solid as well.”
Beloit Memorial graduate Tiffany Morton, a 6-0 junior, complements Buechner in the post. Morton averaged 10.1 points per game a year ago and 5.8 rebounds while shooting better than 50 percent from the field.
The backcourt will feature returning starters Mary Donohoo, Heidi Sonntag and Trisha Thill. The trio averaged better than 19 points per game, with Thill earning All-WIAC Defensive Team honors and honorable mention all-conference recognition.
“Trisha had a real good off season,” Carollo said. “She’s always been strong defensively, but I expect her to be an even bigger threat offensively this season.”
Carollo says the pieces are in place.
“With everybody back, our expectations we’re pretty high coming into the season. I think we’re ready to take the next step,” Carollo said.
Whitewater’s 2007-08 schedule:
(HOME GAMES AT WILLIAMS CENTER)
NOVEMBER: 16—At Millikin College (Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament), 6 p.m.; 17—At Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament, TBD; 25; Cornell College, 3 p.m.; 28—At University of Chicago, 7 p.m.
DECEMBER: 1—UW-Stevens Point, 3 p.m.; 5—UW-Oshkosh, 7 p.m.; 8—UW-Superior, 1 p.m.; 11—At Edgewood College, 7 p.m.; 15—At Luther College, 7 p.m.; 18—Coe College, 5 p.m.; 29—Widener University (Surf City Classic in Irvine Ca.), 4 p.m.; 30—University of Mary Washington (Sur City Classic), 6 p.m.
JANUARY: 5—At UW-River Falls, 1 p.m.; 9—UW-La Crosse, 7 p.m.; 12—At UW-Eau Claire, 3 p.m.; 19—UW-Stout, 3 p.m.; 23—At UW-Platteville, 7 p.m.; 26—At UW-Superior, 1 p.m.; 30—At UW-La Crosse, 7 p.m.
FEBRUARY: 2—UW-Eau Claire, 3 p.m.; 9—At UW-Stout, 3 p.m.; 13—UW-Platteville, 7 p.m.; 16—At UW-Stevens Point, 3 p.m.; 20—At UW-Oshkosh, 7 p.m.; 23—UW-River Falls, 1 p.m.