In just a few days, student-athletes will be back on campuses around the country. While many wbb teams have been involved in summer school and offseason workouts, for some this will be the first time that all team members will be together.
As we mourn the end of summer and celebrate the start of another school year there are many burning questions surrounding the Big Sky Conference this year. The league graduated so many talented players last year, that fans will be asking “Who’s that?” when teams take the floor in November. In honor of these hot August days, here are the burning questions in the BSC for the upcoming year…
Can anyone name a returning player on Idaho State’s roster? Anyone? (Crickets chirp in the background). Well to be fair, there are some returnees for ISU, but the graduations of Michelle Grohs and Jenna Brown leave major voids for the Bengals. On top of that, freshman sensation Sheila Adams, forward Verity Peets, and freshman Jeni Guertin have all transferred. That leaves just 6 returning scholarship players. They have signed 7 newcomers, but a team made up of half returnees and half newcomers is bound to have chemistry issues. Coach Sobelewski did a magnificent job with his team last season, but with a roster thin on experience and so many new faces, it will be another uphill climb this season.
Who will make up the Griz backcourt? The names “Nance-Johnson” and “Hurley” just don’t have the same ring as the names “Morales” and “Rogers.” The UM frontcourt of Sarah Ena and Jessa Loman-Linford appears sown up, but the Grizzlies must answer big questions in the backcourt. Loren Beck will be back at the three-guard/small forward position, but the one and two will be new faces. It is assumed the Griz will go with Shaunte Nance-Johnson at the point, and while she did get some time at the spot last year, this will be a major drop in talent from Mandy Morales. Some have RS Freshman Alex Hurley at the shooting guard spot, but will she have the ability to guard the other talented shooting guards in the league? I have also heard Kenzie DeBoer’s name being thrown around as a starter at the two. Either way, defenses are already breathing easier now that Sonya Rogers has graduated.
Who will rebound for Montana State? Rebounds were aplenty last season for MSU with senior Nubia Garcia moving up the school’s record charts in career rebounding. The senior led the league in average rebounds most of the year. However, Garcia’s graduation, along with Jenny Heringer’s decision to leave the team, has left the Cats in a major hole. Where will the boards come from? Sarah Strand will return for a third year as a starter this season at the small forward, but she has not proven to be a consistent rebounding threat. There aren’t many guards that rebound the way Jenny Heringer did and it is unlikely that the gap will be made up by perimeter players. It is likely that the battle for a starting spot between Jaime Thornton and newcomer Beata Bak will yield the Cats’ biggest threat on the boards. It may also be possible that freshmen Ashley Albert and Rachel Semansky may see increased playing time as the season moves on should they develop into rebounders.
Rest assured many burning questions remain around the league and I will ask them in the coming days!