Women’s basketball looks to youth

Andy York

With nine freshmen on their roster, some may say that the Lawrence University women’s basketball team is a few years away from being a strong threat in the MWC this season. Not them however. With Claire Getzoff and Felice Poratta returning, the Vikings have the perfect mix of veteran leadership and youthful exuberance to send the Vikings back up the standings in the Midwest Conference this season.
The Vikings return Getzoff and Poratta, who were both first team All-MWC last season. Getzoff was also a first team All-Midwest region selection by d3hoops.com. These two girls can play some mean basketball. Getzoff averaged 18.1 points per game last year, and Poratta added 14.1 per game.
The Vikings also return two more senior starters from the team that last went to the Midwest Conference Tournament two years ago. Carla Zarecki running the point, and Jen Jetel in the post. Both women have turned it on when needed, and know what they need to do this season to have a successful campaign. Sophomore Christine Brice, who at six feet gives the Vikings more height on the floor, will round out the starters.
Off the bench, the Vikings have an immediate scoring threat and a shutdown defender in Molly Bouressa and Emily Stengel. Bouressa, who battled through injuries last year, started 15 games for LU. She averages 5.4 points in those games. Stengel played in all but one of the Vikings games last season, and is a valuable substitute off the bench. She provides experience and a tenacious defensive attack. Also returning with size off the bench is Maggie Miskowicz, who found her stride late in the season last year and hopes to continue her growth as a player this season. The Vikings also have two sophomore guards off the bench who hope to compete for more playing time this season in Stephanie Kliethermes and Toren Johnson.
The Vikings’ nine freshmen come in various shapes and sizes, but several come with something the Vikings needed more of: height. The Vikings have three freshmen that come in at six-feet or above in Jessica Lux, Kari Jones and Kelly Mulcahy. The Vikings will be looking to one of these freshmen to step up once Jetel or Brice get in foul trouble.
The Vikings also gained several freshmen that are multi-purpose players. They can either play inside, or can bring it outside as well. Stephanie Kramer, Ashlee Thatcher, and Carrie Van Groll are these types of players. Van Groll is one player to watch. From Little Chute, she was named to the Post-Crescent’s all-area team, and could make an immediate impact. The Vikings have a defensive star in Jenny Stoner. Stoner, who is only 5’2″, was named one of the Chicago area’s most tenacious defenders by the Chicago Sun-Times last season. Playing the point guard, she may remind Viking fans of former star and now-Viking assistant coach Beth Pollnow.
Kacey Anderson, out of Goodhue, Minn., rounds out the Vikings freshman class. The Vikings start their season once again at the UW-Stevens Point Tip-Off classic this weekend. The Vikings will start Friday night with Dominican, Ill. The two teams have never met before. The winner of that game will most likely face fourth-ranked-nationally UW-Stevens Point, which is returning two All-American starters. Concordia, Wis., is the final school in the four-team tournament. The Vikings kick off MWC play with a huge match up at archrival Ripon on Dec. 4.