MCAC Women's Basketball 2018-19 Poll & Preview: Northern Division

MCAC Women's Basketball 2018-19 Poll & Preview: Northern Division

The NJCAA women's basketball season is just around the corner and recently, coaches from around the Minnesota College Athletic Conference took time out of their preseason preparations to vote in the MCAC Basketball preseason poll and provide a brief preview of their teams and expectations for the season. 

In the MCAC Northern Division, women's basketball coaches votes were presented as noted below, with Northland CTC appearing to be the team to beat this year.  Scroll past the poll standings for a brief overview of each team as they head into the season, as provided by their head coach.   The Northern Division men's and women's schedules will have a new look this year, as Lake Superior College will be in their first year of sponsoring men's and women's basketball.  

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#1. Northland CTC   

Northland Community & Technical College head coach Shannon Nelson has earned a 192-45 record over the past eight years, including a  23-7 overall mark and 10-2 ledger in Northern Division play last winter.  

Several key Pioneers return from last year's National Tournament team, including Brooke Heggie (Center, Alexandria, MN), Janie Wunderlich (Guard, Perham, MN) and Hannah Dietsch (Guard, Goodridge, MN).  Several incoming first-year student-athletes look poised to make an impact as well, including Carly Mekash (Forward, Greenbush, MN),  Jozi Halvorson (Guard, Red Lake Falls, MN) and Mya Hough (Center, Roseau, MN).

According to coach Nelson, NCTC will "... will have to rely pretty heavily on newcomers because we are only returning two players who saw significant playing time last season. We should have some more depth in the guard and forward position this season." 

Beth Tvedt will serve as Northland's assistant coach this season; to follow the Pioneer women's basketball team on Twitter, go to: @NCTCPioneers

#2. Hibbing Community College 

Hibbing Community College coach Kate Brau had put together a 60-54 record over the past five years, including a 22-7 overall mark and a 9-3 in the Northern Division.  The Cardinals took third in the Northern Division in a highly competitive group of programs.  

Key returners for Brau's squad will be Hannah Morris (F, Grand Rapids MN) Shauna Kavajecz  (G Port Wing WI) and Stacie Lokken (G Hibbing, MN) while new faces include Bethany Baldwin (G, Watersmeet, MI),  Alexis Desjarlait (F, Red Lake MN), Sherae' Cherenfant  (G, Deland, FL),  Klaryssa Whelan (F, Bemidji MN) and Madeline Mann (G, Winnepeg AB). 

Two key Cardinals from last year's team have moved on to four-year colleges;  Alison Huber will play for the College of St. Scholastica in 2018-19 and April Hudelson will compete at Presentation College. 

Coach Brau notes: "Strong returners in the backcourt should lend experience and leadership to this team. Newcomers will be big contributors."  Brady Brau and Allison Gordon will join the Hibbing staff on the sideline. 

To get timely updates on HCC hoops, be sure to go to: @HCCCardinals

#3. Rainy River Community College 

Rainy River Community College head coach Dieter Humbert is entering 26th season for the Voyagers, and his team is coming off a strong 2017-18 campaign.  RRCC finished tied with Northland in the MCAC regular season at 10-2 and racked up a 17-7 overall record. 

Coach Humbert noted he is "excited about Rainy River's athleticism and depth" and fans from around the state will likely see another strong year from Daeja  Monroe, a forward out of Houston, Texas. Monroe returns as one of the top players in the MCAC last season. Coach Humbert also noted that newcomer Faitress Shaw will likely contribute significantly to RRCC this year. 

Humbert will be joined by Stuart Nordquist, Assistant Coach, on the Rainy River sideline.  

#4. Mesabi Range College

Brad Matuszak takes over the women's basketball program at Mesabi Range College as he enters his first year in the 2018-19 season.  Last year, MRC went 10-14 overall and finished 5-7 in the MCAC Northern Division, good for fifth place. 

In assessing his team, Coach Matuszak noted: "We have some height and speed and will look to utilize both this season."  Several key first-year student athletes look poised to make an impact in Virginia this winter.  

Lada'sha Brown (G, Minneapolis, MN),  Haley Hansen (C, Iron, MN), Patty Overbye (G, Mt. Iron, MN) Hailey Aho (G, Virginia, MN) Kaitlyn Kuntson (F, Virginia, MN) Tori Johnson (F, Tower, MN) and Ashley Sanders (G, Monroe, LA) will all take the court this winter for the Norse.  They will be joined by a handful of returners, including Shawna Wiese (G, Amery, WI) and Makenzey Goerdt (F, Iron, MN).

The Mesabi Range women's basketball team can be found on Twitter; go to:  @norsewbb to follow them throughout the season. 

#5. Central Lakes College 

Head coach Brian Voigt enters his first year with the Raiders in 2018-19 and will look to continue the upward trend for the Raiders over the past few sesaons.

Voigt welcomes several new faces including Kelsie Weite (G, Staples, MN), Maggi Fellerman, (G/F, Aitkin, MN), Kali Mammenga (G/F, Little Falls, MN) and current Central Lakes standout volleyball athlete, Paige Wallevand  (F, Henning, MN).   Joining the first-year contributribors will be Naomi Lane  (F, Aitkin, MN), Sam Schimpp (G, Staples, MN) and Liz Anderson (G, Brainerd, MN).

Central Lakes finished 14-11 overall  last season, including a 6-6 MCAC North mark.  Voigt, who also coaches baseball for CLC, will be joined on the sideline by Cassey Veith and Nicole Marquart.

#6. Lake Superior College

Lake Superior College will field an NJCAA women's basketball team for the first time this winter; head coach Adam Johnson and assistant coaches Andrea Hakamaki and Dana Tekavec will have the opportunity to get the IceHawks season off to a good start in November. 

Several players were mentioned by Johnson as they look forward to the inaugural season; Carly Hansen (Forward, Hermantown, MN) Jocelyn Russell (Guard, Silver Bay, MN) Baylee Barningham (Guard Washburn, WI),  Bailey Wheeler (Guard, Barnum, MN) and Kyndra Beavers (Guard Litchfield, MN) were among ten new faces highlighted to watch this season. 

Johnson goes on to note; "We are in the unique position to build our program from the ground up. The athletes have set high standards for who we want to be and how we want to play. We expect to play hard and compete on every possession. We will play hard, play smart, and play together." 

#7. Itasca Community College


Head coach John Bauer is in his 19th year at Itasca Community College and the Vikings registered a 7-18 overall record in 2018, with a  3-9 Northern Division mark. 

ICC will return Giana Roberts (Grand Rapids, MN) and Kristine Johnson (Remer, MN) and welcome key newcomers Emily Franz (Littlefork/Big Falls, MN) and Averi Holthusen (Red Lake, MN) to the Grand Rapids campus this winter. 

Bauer noted that he expects strong sophomore leadership to help the Vikings climb the ranks in the MCAC standings; Jen Toewe will serve ICC as an assitant coach this fall. 

#8. Vermilion Community College                       


One of several second year head coaches in the MCAC, Vermilion's Krystal Brodeen will be looking forward to the start of the season. 

Brodeen welcomes some newcomers including Terri Sutton, (F/C, St. Paul, MN) and Alexis Hughes (F, Cleveland, OH)as well as several retuners, including Kira Abernathy, (F, Cleveland OH), Zarea Richards, (G, St. Paul, MN) and Daysha Davis (G, St. Paul, MN)

Brodeen, a former VCC student-athlete herself, had this to say about the upcoming Vermilion season: "I'm looking forward to the leadership that the sophomores will bring to show on the court more this year, along with the height that the incoming players will bring to add to our inside game."

To follow VCC this winter go to @VermilionCC and @VermilionWBB on Twitter. 

#9. Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College 


New head coach Robert Smith is looking to re-energize the FDLTCC women's basketball program, taking over the Thunder in 2018-19. 

Smith notes that:  "The goal of this season is to create great habits that not only translate to the court, but in the classroom and in life. We want to Win The Day, by improving mentally and physically, day in and day out!" 

Among the student-athletes that FDL welcomes to the team are Carissa Sorenson-Anderson (G , Cloquet High School),  Aleisha Fox (G, Fond Du Lac High School) and Meredith Cherne (F, South Ridge High School). 


This release sponsored in part by Gopher Sport. 

Gopher Sport, based in Owatonna, is an industry leader in Physical Education, sports and fitness equipment.  Gopher Sport is dedicated to providing programs and departments with the products to improve fitness, develop skills, create fun and reach a high standard of learning and living. Gopher Sport has diligently served teachers, coaches and athletic directors around the world for over 65 years. 

About the Minnesota College Athletic Conference

The Minnesota College Athletic Conference is the organizational body for NJCAA-affiliated two-year technical and community college athletic programs in the Minnesota State system.  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.