Trying to pick a leading scorer on any given night for the UW-Whitewater women’s basketball team this year?
With five starters returning, seven of the team’s top eight scorers from last season back in the mix and a couple key additions, Warhawks head coach Keri Carollo might not even know who her top go-to option will be on a nightly basis.
“We’re not going to lean on one player to do all of our scoring, which is going to be really nice,” said Carollo, whose team opens its season Wednesday at Elmhurst. “We’re going to really be able to get the ball inside like we would like and then create opportunities for ourselves on the perimeter if needed.”
The No. 20-ranked Warhawks have been tabbed to win the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in a poll of the league’s coaches and sports information directors.
Carollo has a couple four-year players from which to build.
Brooke Trewyn, a Whitewater High graduate, led last year’s 22-6 team, scoring 15.2 points and grabbing 7.0 rebounds per game. She’s played 81 career games, starting 68.
“The name of the game, for her, has always been consistency with her scoring and really being able to give us a solid rebounding presence, and she does that,” Carollo said. “I think the other thing we expect of her is to be a great teammate, great leader and to really … set a great example of how hard you have to work.
“She knows she can lean on her post teammates and some of the other perimeter players to contribute, which really helps us not be one-dimensional, which the last couple years I feel we have been.”
Point guard Malia Smith averaged a career-best 12.5 points per game in her fourth season as a starter.
And Andrea Meinert, the team’s third senior, missed some time last season but still has 67 career games under her belt and averaged nearly double figures scoring when she was in last year.
“Just having the leadership that we have returning is extremely helpful,” Carollo said. “Their focus and their drive is a lot different, that senior class.”
Olivia Freckmann, Becky Deichl and Becky Raeder return after each starting at least 13 times in 2016-17, and Camri Conley played in all 28 games, as well.
Added to the mix are sisters Sarah and Rebekah Schumacher—another pair of Whitewater High grads. Rebekah, a freshman, signed a letter of intent to join her sister, a junior, at Division II Quincy. But they eventually decided to play together at UW-W.
“Sarah is a 6-1 post/forward, and she just is physical, can score, can face up and hit midrange shots,” Carollo said. “She’s starting to figure out the system.
“You’ll see a lot of her. She’s going to have a tremendous impact.”
Carollo called Rebekah Schumacher a tremendous passer who will see minutes right away.
Another unrelated Schumacher, Emily, is a freshman guard from Waukesha that went to the University of Charleston briefly last year. Carollo said she is a creative guard who will see solid minutes.
Sophomore Sydney Smith, from Oregon Community College, will help out at the point guard spot.
And sophomore Nikki Foster, a Janesville Craig graduate, may be counted on for added minutes, especially early on as the Warhawks deal with injuries.
“She had a great offseason—is quicker and stronger. We expect her to get in the rotation right away,” Carollo said.
Carollo, who coached the team to the Final Four in 2008, 2013 and 2014, believes she has a focused, driven group that has lofty goals as part of a program that won the WIAC Tournament and got back to the D-III NCAA tourney last year.
Even if knowing the leading scorer every night is a bit of a guessing game.
“They’re very unselfish,” Carollo said. “It’s early, so we’re still trying to identify rotations and which groups work well together.
“It’s a constant conversation that we have with all our teams, because that is who we are, truly, is creating that balanced attack so that we are difficult to defend. It could be someone coming off the bench that could be our leading scorer.
“We have to continue to prove to our team that that’s what is going to make us great.”